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Cat seated with Mouse in its Paw: C.3055-1928

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Cat seated with Mouse in its Paw


Factory: Bow Porcelain Manufactory




Soft-paste porcelain figure of a cat, painted in enamels.

Soft-paste porcelain containing bone ash, press-moulded, and painted over lead-glaze in pale blue, dark puce, two shades of purplish-grey, and brown enamels. The underside is concave and glazed. The pear-shaped base has a scrolled edge and a small, stepped mound at the front. The cat sits at the narrow end of the base, looking straight ahead, and holding a mouse to itself with its right front leg. Its left paw rests on the mound, into which another mouse is disappearing, its back and tail still visible. The cat is painted to resemble a tabby in shades of purplish-grey. On one side there is a fingerprint. The mice are brown, and the mound is pale blue. The scrolls are picked out in dark puce.


History note: Christie's, 15 June, 1922, part of lot 32, two cats; purchased for £77 on behalf of Dr J.W.L. Glaisher, FRS, Trinity College, Cambridge

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Depth: 5 cm
Height: 8.1 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Stratford-le-Bow ⪼ Essex ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1928-12-07) by Glaisher, J. W. L., Dr


18th Century, Mid#
George II
Circa 1753 CE - 1758 CE


Cats played a very important role in eighteenth-century households by catching mice which would otherwise have invaded kitchens and larders.

Label text from the exhibition ‘Feast and Fast: The Art of Food in Europe, 1500–1800’, on display at The Fitzwilliam Museum from 26 November 2019 until 31 August 2020: In early modern Europe, cats were kept primarily as ‘food guardians’ to prevent vermin from eating provisions. Some earned their keep as mousers, such as this tiny feline whose mouse-catching abilities have been immortalised in soft-paste porcelain: with one paw firmly placed on a mouse-hole (into which a lucky mouse escapes), she traps a less fortunate one in the other. Other cats, like the contented one in Valentino’s kitchen scene (displayed nearby), appear to have preferred living off kitchen scraps fed to them by indulgent servants.

School or Style


Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels ( pale blue, dark puce, two shades of purplish-grey, and brown)

Materials used in production

presumed lead Lead-glaze
presumed phosphatic Soft-paste porcelain

Techniques used in production

Press-moulding : Soft-paste porcelain containing bone ash, press-moulded, and painted over lead-glaze in pale blue, dark puce, two shades of purplish-grey, and brown enamels

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.3055-1928
Primary reference Number: 41632
Old object number: 3799B
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 24 November 2020 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Cat seated with Mouse in its Paw" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-24 23:34:18

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{{cite web|url= |title=Cat seated with Mouse in its Paw |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-04-24 23:34:18|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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