The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Lord Cadogan's cat

Lord Cadogan's cat

Identified in the Silvy daybooks as 'Lord Cadogan's cat', the feline sitter in this photograph is accompanied by a woman. It is clear from her outdoor dress that it is she who has brought the cat to the studio, and her demeanor somehow suggests that she is a servant, albeit an upper one.

Lord Cadogan (Admiral George Cadogan, 3rd Earl Cadogan) appears on the 1861 census, a widower living at 18, Waterloo Crescent, Dover. The head of the nine servants employed to look after him and run his house is a 74-year-old housekeeper by the name of Hannah Hill, born in the parish of St. Giles, Middlesex [an area of London just east of today's Charing Cross Road]. It is tempting to conclude that this is the lady seen here in this portrait, the subject of which is ostensibly her employer's pet. She is certainly the only female member of his staff who is of the right age; the second oldest woman employed by the earl is a 37-year-old ladies' maid, and the woman seen here is clearly older than that.

However, Lord Cadogan also had a home in London - both he and Hannah Hill appear on the 1851 living at 39, Chesham Place, London - and the possibility exists that he employed a second housekeeper to run that establishment. It seems more likely, though, that he would have employed only one housekeeper who would have travelled between the two houses with him, and that only a skeleton staff would have been left in whichever home he currently wasn't occupying. Hannah Hill's appearance on the 1851 census at the London address certainly supports this supposition.

Photographed by Camille Silvy of London on 8 September 1860.


Code: 123864
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© Paul Frecker 2019