Thursday, February 09, 2012

Clare Turlay Newberry

Clare Turlay Newberry(1903-1970) is a wonderful artist I recently discovered. She became famous for her cat illustrations and TIME Magazine once said she was "the best cat artist since the Egyptians".

It's impressive that Newberry mostly finished her drawings in one go - putting brush to paper and immediately achieving a finished portrait. Her colour palette and technique I find very reminiscent of Japanese drawings. But her ability to capture feline expression and poise stems, clearly, from a deep affection for cats.

Funnily enough I had first, without knowing, admired her art in this awesome tattoo featured on the pet site Pawesome. Then, when I got the book "Mittens" it took me a few days to realize where I had seen that kitten before...

Many of Newberry's books are only available second hand and some cost a pretty penny. However, "Marshmallow" and "April's Kittens" are still in print. Occasionally you might also find a print for sale.


Jeane said...

Oh, these are so beautiful. I have a book of hers called Smudge that has the most wonderfully soft-looking kitties. I remember my mother reading Marshmallow to us when we were little, too (about a bunny).

bookworm (inês) said...

I was actually able to get a used copy of Smudge (and Mittens)! I can't understand why they're not all still in seems to me her illustrations would be very popular today.

SantaFePrax said...

My mother, Clare Turlay Newberry Trujillo, would have loved your site. For one thing, she liked soft greys and that is unusual to see on web sites.

I have just finished uploading her very own web site, to which you are definitely You can click on the book titles (they are all featured on the home page) to see a whole page with excerpted illustrations, some back story, and sometimes family photographs about each book.

I have also reissued PANDORA (Bari of chose that) and if you wait a few days--and keep checking--it will be available on and If you have a fav, let me know as I plan to reissue more.

You really made my day--I love how you write about my mother. Oh, I am also finishing a biography about her amazing life, but getting the copy proofed is taking quite awhile, so check every now and then on for when that is released, probably late November.

inês said...

Hello Felicia!
Thank you so much for your kind words! I look forward to the re-issue of Pandora (oh, I loved the photo of Pandora the kitten!) and your biography of her.
It really is a shame all her books are not still in print - with cats ruling the internet it hardly seems possible! And I really believe she has a unique sensitivity in portraying cats. Nowadays there are so many young illustrators (and I love a lot of them) but the lightness and softness of your mother's art is without parallel.
I wish you all the best!
Inês - The bookworm