What Our Logo Represents
We do love our logo. Customers notice it, like it and often ask us about it - so in that sense it is clearly "fit for purpose". We love the simplicity but also the sensual feline like curves that powerfully convey the elegance of the domestic cat. Above all, since 2001 it has represented us in print, on our shopfront and online. We hope it reminds our existing customers of the simple values that we run our business by - aiming to offer quality feline themed products at all price ranges.
Our logo actually comes from an original picture by Hyman Segal, an artist and designer who spent much of his life at the heart of the artist community in St Ives, Cornwall. Here is the picture:
Please see the end of the article for a brief biography of Hyman Segal.
How Did You Identify It As Your Logo?
Alison and I used to work in London as accountants. One of our favourite times of year was Easter when we would jump on a train at Paddington on Maundy Thursday evening and wake up in Penzance on Good Friday morning. We'd have a full 4 day break, catching the night train back on Bank Holiday Monday and going straight into work on the Tuesday. We'd spend most of the time walking and enjoying the beautiful Cornish scenery but we would always visit St Ives for a spot of retail therapy.
Our visit in April 1999 came a full year before we had the idea for The Cat Gallery. As we strolled down Tregenna Hill we noticed a sign pointing down Street-an-Pol. "Cat Art Exhibition" it said. As dedicated fans of "all things cat" we duly turned right and found ourselves at a Gallery quite unlike any in St Ives. No polished marble floors and pristine white walls with concealed hanging systems here. No, just a couple of ground floor rooms where every inch of wall was hung with pictures and every flat surface held a multitude of loose prints and original work. We worked our way around methodically, realising only as we approached the gallery owner, that we had picked out three pieces by the same artist, signing himself "Segal".
This was the first day of the Exhibition and we were the first buyers. Paul the owner was thrilled, and especially delighted that we appreciated the work of his good friend, Hyman Segal. "You must meet him" he exclaimed, "right now, I insist". We were ushered out of the Gallery, down a couple of streets, through a door and upstairs to a dark room where an elderly gentleman sat puffing away on a pipe. "This young couple have just bought three of your pictures Hyman!" said Paul. As our eyes adjusted to the gloom, we gazed around at the work adorning the walls - lots of charcoal portraits plus a number of cat compositions. Over the next hour we discovered more about the very full life that, the then 85 year old, Mr Segal had lived. We also found ourselves picking out more cat pictures that took our fancy. Mr Segal, as thrilled as Paul with this sudden commercial success, grabbed the nearest thing he had to hand (the tear off oval from a box of Kleenex) and, there and then, drew us a cat picture as a "thank you"!
It would be another year before we realised that our destiny lay in running a multi-channel store for cat lovers and that the "Mother & Kittens" picture above held the key to our business logo. When the penny dropped, we approached Hyman Segal the following year about using the mother cat as our logo and were delighted when we got an enthusiastic response. Sadly, Hyman Segal passed away in 2004 at the age of 90. We will always remember meeting him and know that he really appreciated his work being carried forward into a business focused totally on delighting cat lovers.
Other Hyman Segal Cats
We purchased the picture below as a rolled up print and had it professionally framed. Another amazingly simple picture that conveys a cat chasing a mouse perfectly - so much movement in the mouse!
And here are three more pictures. The first two are helping to decorate the walls of our second floor office in York.
If you own a Hyman Segal cat picture and would be interested in selling, do let us know. The same goes for work by Ponckle, The Cat Painter of St Ives.
Hyman Segal - Brief Biography
Hyman Segal was born in London in 1914. He attended the Jew's Free School (known today as JFS) in Camden Town, London; at the age of 12 he won a scholarship to study at St Martin's School of Art, where other students included Leon Underwood and Vivian Pitchforth, and his artistic career broadened to include painting, sculpture and design. He was a member of the Royal Society of British Artists and a National Registered Designer. In 1935 he was commissioned by London Transport to design a series of posters. In 1946, on his return from war service in Africa he joined the St Ives Society of Artists,of which he was a committee member. in 1949 he was one of the founding members of the Penwith Society of Artists. He worked from 10 Porthmeor Studios and became known locally for his black and white drawings of people, fishermen and cats. Copies of his famous caricatures of St Ives locals can still be seen in The Sloop Inn. He died in December 2004 aged 90.