A New Gallery Brochure about Puss in Boots Coming This Fall

The pamphlet Cinderella in the Cotsen Children’s Library has been out of print for some years and there have been requests for a new one on another classic fairy tale.  But which one?  Sleeping Beauty?  Too passive.   Blue Beard?  Too violent.  Ditto Little Thumb.   Riquet with the Tuft?  Too obscure.   Donkey  Skin? Too kinky.   That left the cleverest cat of all, Puss in Boots.

The selection of pictures will not come from the ones on display in the current exhibition, “Most Masterful Cat.”  Here are a few illustrations of Puss that may be new to you.   They may or may make the final cut.

Here he is trudging down the road to the King’s palace, with the gift of a nice fat rabbit slung over his shoulder.  The illustrator is Edmond Morin, whose book about the hard life dolls lead was the subject of  another post.

One of my favorite illustrations of Puss shows a rather chubby, furry tom cat hunting for  quail, which were also to be presented to the king.  This beautifully observed picture is by the great German 19th-century artist Otto Speckter.  Wearing boots must disturb the cat’s concentration while hunting.  It is one of two quite different versions of the same scene, both of which I love.There are many wonderful pictures of Puss after his elevation for service to the crown.   This one by Harrison Weir  imagines him as an elegant but swaggering courtier.  No wonder the ladies can’t keep their eyes off of him.  Obviously being waited upon by them is much more amusing than catching mice around the palace.Until the pamphlet goes out on the shelves of the bookcase in the gallery entrance, there’s some consolation for cat lovers  here.


Exhibition “Most Masterful Cat” opens next week

Next week Puss in Boots will swagger into the Cotsen gallery just in time for festivities at Reunions.  Admire the folio edition of Perrault’s fairy tales where Gustave Dore’s Puss first appeared on view in Chandler’s Box (that’s the case jutting into the Firestone lobby), turn left and come in.  In our two cases inspired by early nineteenth-century miniature libraries there will be all twelve prints illustrating the tale by Otto Speckter, the classic picture book versions by Fred Marcellino and Hans Fischer, and some less familiar interpretations we think you’ll find just as memorable.

Puss will make his bow on August 15th.  But before he departs for his castle in France, a new gallery publication commemorating his exploits will be published and made available free of charge to Cotsen’s visitors.  Until then, you can enjoy an earlier post starring Puss.

Hope to see you in the gallery over the summer…