Saturday, April 6, 2019

Cats: The Soft Underbelly of the Enlightenment

 Jean-Baptiste Oudry, Le Général, 1728. Detail.

Academia is gradually turning to more “open access” methods of publishing rather than depending on stuffy, expensive journals. Instead of the usual expensive subscription needed to enjoy the latest research, the general public can now browse for themselves recent scholarship free of charge. I’ve had the pleasure of discovering this week one such resource: Journal18, described as “the first journal dedicated to the field of eighteenth-century art history”. Each issue has a theme, the latest one as of this writing being “Animals”.

Well, dear cat lovers, I would invite you to read this excellent article which reflects on the evolution of the cat as an allegory in 18th century art. It is a fascinating journey through period representations of felines, the early days of biology, philosophy, and political theory.

Freund, Amy, et Michael Yonan, « Cats: The Soft Underbelly of the Enlightenment », Journal18: A Journal of Eighteenth-Century Art and Culture, Volume 7, (Spring 2019). Online:

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Cats and academia: a short history

Swing over to this link for an interesting article on cats and academia.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The 18th Century Material Culture Resource Center

The 18th Century Material Culture Resource Center has a nice collection of cats images from the 18th century. Well worth checking out:

Sunday, March 26, 2017

De Sève's Cats

I just love stumbling on cats during my research. Recently, I was looking for a few 18th century engravings to illustrate one of my presentations when I came across these wonderful images. They were created by Jacques de Sève, one of the main illustrators for Buffon's Histoire Naturelle, générale et particulière, avec la description du Cabinet du Roi. 


Le Chat sauvage [The Wild Cat] 

Le chat domestique [The Domestic Cat]

Le Chat d'Espagne [The Spanish (Calico) Cat]

Le Chat des Chartreux [The Chartreux Cat]

Le Chat d'Angora [The Angora Cat]

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Aberdeen Bestiary

Heads up for those who love illuminated manuscript! The University of Aberdeen has just digitized this beautiful bestiary. Check it out!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Academics with Cats

I can't believe I forgot to mention that there are "#twitterstorians" who regularly post images of their cats under the hashtag #academicswithcats. Yours truly is often there posting pictures of his own cats. Did I mention we now have a second cat since last year? Little Diderot!

Friday, September 9, 2016