Susan Herbert (1945 - 2014) was one of the most distinctive contemporary feline artists. Her work is instantly recognisable both because of her style, but often also because the original subject matter from which she drew her inspiration was a well known piece of art / movie poster / or theatrical character. Her re-interpretations of iconic imagery manage to celebrate not just the world of cats but also the works that her cats wittily inhabit.

Original Artwork

Original works by Susan Herbert will set you back anything from several hundreds, to several thousands of pounds. If that's what you are looking for then Chris Beetles Gallery website is a great place to browse. Here's one piece, available as of June 2019: Hearts are Trumps (Millais) £1,450

Susan Herbert Hearts are Trumps Millais

If that's a little more than you were wanting to pay, then you're in luck. There are a variety of ways in which you can access Susan Herbert's wonderful artwork.

Susan Herbert Books

Shakespeare Cats £7.95

Painting in her familiar and highly popular style, Susan Herbert presents an irresistible array of well-known characters in the great Shakespearean plays, from the tragic Romeo and Juliet to the mischievous Titania, from the beautiful Cleopatra to the roguish Falstaff.

Shakespeare Cats Susan Herbert

Shakespeare Cats Poster Book £17.95

Twenty detachable posters featuring celebrated artist Susan Herbert’s charming feline re-imaginings of scenes from some of the greatest plays in English literature.

Shakespeare Cats Poster Book Susan Herbert

Pre-Raphaelite Cats £7.95

Susan Herbert turns her eye to the works of the Pre-Raphaelite painters. These wonderful paintings can be viewed in a new and entrancing way when their protagonists are endearing cats. Were ever two creatures so frightened and so abandoned as the poor cat princes wickedly imprisoned in the Tower, or two lovers so sad and so stoical as the young officer cat and his fiancée on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo? A special feature of this book is its inclusion of small black-and-white reproductions of all the original paintings that have inspired Susan Herbert.

Susan Herbert Pre Raphaelite Cats

Cats Galore - A Compendium of Cultured Cats £14.95

Published after her death in 2014, Cat's Galore is a fitting printed tribute to Susan Herbert's talent. This new compilation of her best paintings covers famous scenes from art, theatre,opera, ballet and film. An array of cat characters take the starring roles in a variety of instantly recognizable settings. Susan Herbert's brilliantly observed feline dramatis personae are a joy to discover.

Susan Herbert Cats Galore

Stationery Products

Cats in Movies Notecards £9.95

These clever and charming notecards feature her renditions of twenty classic movie scenes with cats in the starring roles. They will make an ideal gift for cat-loving culture buffs and cultured cat-lovers everywhere.

Cats in Movies Notecards Susan Herbert

Cats in Art Notecards £12.95

Twenty quality notecards in a lovely box that you'll want to keep. Best of all are Susan Herberts's delightful re-imaginings of famous artworks. Equally suitable for framing or sending.

Susan Herbert Cats in Art Notecards

Set of 3 A6 Notebooks £6.95

This delightfully packaged set of three A6 notebooks features a different piece of Susan Herbert re-imagined art on the cover of each notebook.

Susan Herbert Cats in Art Notebooks A6 x 3

All the above book titles and stationery items are available from The Cat Gallery. In July 2019 we also hope to add a Susan Herbert umbrella to our online shop.

Whilst researching this blog post I came across a lovely Susan Herbert Pinterest Page. The advantage of this page is that for many work's, the original is shown alongside Susan Herbert's reinterpretation.

Whether you came to this page out of curiosity or because you're a committed Susan Herbert fan, we hope you've found it helpful. Certainly any of the items above would be gratefully received as a gift by a cat lover although we suspect that many people will buy two - one as gift and one for themselves.

In the same way that Louis Wain's anthropomorphic cats have achieved iconic status, so Susan Herbert's feline take on the world of culture has provided a legacy of feline portraiture that will surely endure for as long as Wain's work has.

As an expert on both Wain and Herbert, I will quote directly from Chris Beetles' website to sketch in the detail behind one of the brightest creative forces in contemporary cat art:

Susan Herbert 1945 - 2014

"Susan Herbert was born in Hampton-in-Arden on 30 September 1945, and educated at Solihull High School. She later studied for a single term at the Ruskin School of Drawing, Oxford (1973). She began her working life in the box offices of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon (1963-68), the London Coliseum (1968-75) and the Theatre Royal, Bath (1976-78).

These positions enabled her to hold foyer exhibitions, which included theatrical portraits and a series of images using mice to tell the story of Wagner’s Ring. Such work led to the development of an anthropomorphic art that placed animals in Old Master, Shakespearean and operatic settings. By the close of the 1970s, she had become a freelance artist, with work permanently displayed at the Theatre Royal and Kings Circus Gallery, both in Bath. During the 1980s, she broadened her interests, exhibiting miniatures in the United States (1984) and producing a set of limited edition prints and cards (1989). A major exhibition of her work was held in 1990 at the Crypt Gallery, St Martin-in-the-Fields, London. Her international popularity was confirmed by a touring exhibition, which began in Tokyo in 1995.

Since 1990, Susan has reached an even wider public through the books that she has published with Thames & Hudson: The Cats Gallery of Art (1990); The Diary of a Victorian Cat, with a text by Stanley Baron (1991); Impressionist Cats (1992); The Cats History of Western Art, with commentaries by Genevieve McCahen, (1994); Medieval Cats (1995); Shakespeare Cats (1996); Opera Cats (1997); Pre-Raphaelite Cats (1999), The Cats Gallery of Western Art (2002, a compilation of 1990 & 1994 volumes); Movie Cats (2006), Cats Galore: A Compendium of Cultured Cats (2015)."