Harry Pointer's Cats

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Harry Pointer's Brighton Cats

During the 1870s, the Brighton photographer Harry Pointer (1822-1889) became well known for a series of carte-de-visite photographs which featured his pet cats. Pointer began by taking conventional  photographs of cats resting, drinking milk or sleeping in a basket, but from around 1870 he specialised in photographing cats in a variety of poses, placing his cats in settings that would create a humorous or appealing picture. Pointer often arranged his cats in unusual poses that mimicked human activities - a cat riding a tricycle, cats roller-skating and even a cat taking a photograph with a camera. Harry Pointer soon realised that even a relatively straight-forward cat photograph could be turned into an amusing or appealing image by adding a written caption. Pointer increased the commercial potential of his cat pictures by  adding a written greeting such as "A Happy New Year" or "Very many happy returns of the day". Purchasers sent the small cartes-de-visite as tiny greetings cards, thereby publicizing Pointer's distinctive cat photographs. By 1872, Harry Pointer had created over one hundred different captioned images of cats. Harry Pointer's series of cat photographs were collectively known as "The Brighton Cats". The Photographic News reported that, by 1884, Pointer had published about two hundred pictures in "The Brighton Cats" series.

[ABOVE] The distinctive trade plate of  Harry Pointer  Photographer, 15 Bloomsbury Place, Marine Parade, Brighton, as printed on the reverse of a carte-de-visite (1870). The engraved picture of a cat in a roundel was used for a brief period in and around 1870. It is likely that the original picture of the cat was drawn by his wife, the artist Rosa Myra Drummond.

[ABOVE] "The Brighton Cats", photographed from life by H. Pointer", the heading printed on the trade plate for Harry Pointer's private photographic studio at 11 Bloomsbury Place, Marine Parade, Brighton, as printed on the reverse of a carte-de-visite (c1875).

[ABOVE] A portrait of the Brighton photographer Harry Pointer with three of his cats, a carte-de-visite photographed at Harry Pointer's photographic studio in Bloomsbury Place, Brighton around 1880. The Photographic News commented on this picture in 1884 : "Mr Pointer presents us with his own portrait, as he once appeared with three of his pets.. the same trio of cats."

[PHOTO : Courtesy of Philippe Garner]

[ABOVE] Two young cats posed on a decorated watering can, a carte  from 'The Brighton Cats' series, photographed by Harry Pointer at his studio at 15 Bloomsbury Place, Marine Parade, Brighton (c1870).

 

You can read an account of the life and career of the photographer Harry Pointer by clicking on the following link:

Harry Pointer- Brighton Photographer

 

"The Brighton Cats", a series of carte-de-visite photographs produced by Harry Pointer of Brighton

[ABOVE] "The Photographer", a carte from 'The Brighton Cats' series, photographed by Harry Pointer at his Bloomsbury Place studio in Brighton. [ABOVE] An engraved drawing of a cat decorating the trade plate of  Harry Pointer  Photographer, 15 Bloomsbury Place, Marine Parade, Brighton, as printed on the reverse of a carte-de-visite (c1870). [ABOVE] Two cats in a basket, a carte from 'The Brighton Cats' series, photographed by Harry Pointer at his Bloomsbury Place studio in Brighton. The photograph carries the greeting "A Happy New Year". [ABOVE] A small kitten in a mixing bowl, a carte from 'The Brighton Cats' series, photographed by Harry Pointer at his Bloomsbury Place studio in Brighton. The photograph carries the greeting "The Compliments of the Season".

[ABOVE] "The Brighton Cats", photographed from life by H. Pointer" the heading printed on the trade plate for Harry Pointer's private photographic studio at 11 Bloomsbury Place, Marine Parade, Brighton, as printed on the reverse of a carte-de-visite (c1875). [ABOVE] A cat sitting on a tricycle, a carte from 'The Brighton Cats' series, photographed by Harry Pointer at his Bloomsbury Place studio in Brighton. The photograph carries the greeting "A Happy New Year". [ABOVE] "Bring up the dinner Betsy", a carte from 'The Brighton Cats' series, photographed by Harry Pointer at his Bloomsbury Place studio in Brighton. [ABOVE] "Five o'clock Tea", a carte from 'The Brighton Cats' series, photographed by Harry Pointer at his Bloomsbury Place studio in Brighton.
 

[ABOVE] Two young cats resting on an old leather boot, a carte  from 'The Brighton Cats' series, photographed by Harry Pointer at his studio at 15 Bloomsbury Place, Marine Parade, Brighton (c1870). [ABOVE] "The Shah", a photograph of a white Persian cat, a carte from 'The Brighton Cats' series, photographed by Harry Pointer at his Bloomsbury Place studio in Brighton. [ABOVE] "Happy Moments", a photograph of three young cats in a basket, a carte from 'The Brighton Cats' series, photographed by Harry Pointer at his Bloomsbury Place studio in Brighton. [ABOVE] A cat sitting in a toy pram, a carte  from 'The Brighton Cats' series, photographed by Harry Pointer at his Bloomsbury Place studio in Brighton. The photograph carries the greeting "A Happy New Year".
 

[ABOVE] "Miss Tabbie at the Rink", a photograph of a single cat roller-skating pictured on a carte from 'The Brighton Cats' series, photographed by Harry Pointer at his Bloomsbury Place studio in Brighton. [ABOVE] The trade mark of  Harry & Charles Treacher of The Library, No.1 North Street, Brighton, rubber-stamped on the reverse of one of Harry Pointer's cat photographs. Cartes-de-visites in "The Brighton Cats" series were sold at bookshops, stationers and other retail outlets (c1875). [ABOVE] "Rinking at Brighton", a photograph of cats roller-skating pictured on a carte from 'The Brighton Cats' series, photographed by Harry Pointer at his Bloomsbury Place studio in Brighton. [ABOVE] Three white kittens in a basket, a carte  from 'The Brighton Cats' series, photographed by Harry Pointer at his Bloomsbury Place studio in Brighton. The photograph carries the greeting "Very many happy returns of the day".
 

You can read an account of the life and career of the photographer Harry Pointer by clicking on the following link:

Harry Pointer- Brighton Photographer

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