Thursday, 16 August 2012

CHARMED ~ The Pastel of a Cat by Lady Marion Rootes

I never cease to feel joy when I accidently come across some small treasure, whether it is one which I intend to sell on, or one that I decide to keep. This one is most definitely a keep!

While wandering in the nearby village of Ramsbury, Wiltshire we looked in the small charity shop there (Ramsbury Charity Shop of Hills Stores) which is run by local people who donate their time in order to keep it open to provide funds to local charities. It's located in what was once the village shop. It's only open a few days a week for a few hours, but it has made a difference to those charities.

And to me because I love this little pastel of a black and white cat amongst flowers which was painted by Lady Marion Rootes of North Standen House some years ago. North Standen House has a lot of history and Lady Rootes does too, I found this mention of her on a blog about the Rootes car empire.

Rootes Motor Cars

And they have a Wiki entry

My photo of the pastel does not do it justice at all as it was shot through the glass of the frame. His eyes are wonderfully alive, (lit by The Jellicle Moon!) he has a knowing smile, magnificent whiskers -  and I am certain that this was painted of a real much loved cat.  I wish I knew the cat's name and story, and shall have to do some further research. If anyone should stumble across my post and know how I might get in touch with Lady Marion do please contact me.

It has been many years since I kept the company of a black and white cat, whose charming ways inspired T.S Eliot to pen a poem about them, 'Jellicle Cats'. My life has been graced by three such cats, all of whom I loved. Each one of them danced by the light of the  Jellicle Moon in their own little way.

This one is going to hang on the wall and remind me of them and Lady Marion Rootes who so lovingly gave the cat immortality. 

Jellicle Cats come out to-night
Jellicle Cats come one come all:
The Jellicle Moon is shining bright -
Jellicles come to the Jellicle Ball.
Jellicle Cats are black and white,
Jellicle Cats are rather small;
Jellicle Cats are merry and bright,
And pleasant to hear when they caterwaul.
Jellicle Cats have cheerful faces,
Jellicle Cats have bright black eyes;
They like to practise their airs and graces
And wait for the Jellicle Moon to rise.
Jellicle Cats develop slowly,
Jellicle Cats are not too big;
Jellicle Cats are roly-poly,
They know how to dance a gavotte and a jig.
Until the Jellicle Moon appears
They make their toilette and take their repose:
Jellicle Cats wash behind their ears,
Jellicles dry between their toes.
Jellicle Cats are white and black,
Jellicle Cats are of moderate size;
Jellicles jump like a jumping-jack,
Jellicle Cats have moonlit eyes.

They're quiet enough in the morning hours,
They're quiet enough in the afternoon,
Reserving their terpsichorean powers
To dance by the light of the Jellicle Moon.
Jellicle Cats are black and white,
Jellicle Cats (as I said) are small;
If it happens to be a stormy night
They will practise a caper or two in the hall.

If it happens the sun is shining bright
You would say they had nothing to do at all:
They are resting and saving themselves to be right
For the Jellicle Moon and the Jellicle Ball.

Footnote: The delightful and historic village of Ramsbury has it's own website and should you ever be passing by stop and have a meal or a drink at The Bell, which has it's own cafe, Bella Cafe. You can also stay there! It's a favourite place of ours and we will be writing more about local villages in the future.

Ramsbury, Wiltshire

The Bell Inn, Ramsbury


  1. What a wonderful find! T.S. Eliot sure knew his cats!

    1. Snap, you are so right, he really did, each and every one of them! x

  2. I love that cat portrait. If I had seen it, it would have come home with me too! I also love your new header featuring Alice and the White Rabbit!

    1. June, Thank you! It feels like the right season to think of Alice. x

  3. This was indeed a great find and your photo looks lovely. Regal cat face and long whiskers!
    I did wonder about the history surrounding the picture and I was going to ask you if you were going to do some research about Lady Rootes. The pastel drawing is very well done. She must of loved the Jellicle cat very much!
    P.S. Many years ago I had a Jellicle cat called Chess. She was more active at night and would howl to go out to play under the moon.

    1. Jo, Your Chess sounds delightful! And a proper Jellicle Cat, so happy that you were with me when we found this one. x

  4. What a lovely cat painting and I love your new background. I've been feeling like the white rabbit the last week *smile*. Have a nice friday.


    1. Elna, You and the cats have a lovely weekend! With summer coming to an end soon I think we all feel a little bit 'white rabbit'. Minerva x

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Snowwhite, I hope that you are not having trouble leaving us comments - blogger has been quite naughty lately! I really love your latest post about the cleaning of the giant Buddha. He is so majestic! x

  6. Such a really lovely find and even more wonderful that you are able to contribute to a worthy cause at the same time!
    Hope you are having a happy week,
    Susan x

  7. Mrs Black is, I hope, doesn't go around doing things to birds, tell me it is true?

    1. Hello Bob, lovely to see you here! Mrs Black is a very domesticated cat, her only vicea are those mices, especially the church mice who live in the old church behind our cottages. x

  8. I am so sorry. I am not sure this is a blogger's trouble or my mistake. Probably mine.
    I am enchanted by this pastel. When I saw the cat, I felt as if I had eye-contact with him because of his strong eye lights. It is wonderful to imagine cats gather under the Jellicle Moon!! I am sure the moon has a mysterious power.
    Thanks a lot for taking me to Cats' world. I love this post.

    1. Snowwhite, So glad to have your reply! I agree that the moon does have a mysterious power and often cats eyes remind me of it. I am happy that you like this post, I know you enjoy cats too! : ~ ) x


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