LONGHAIR/ANGORA/PERSIAN - SLVER
When fellow author Gillian Vine, wrote her chapter on 'Silver Longhairs' in 1978, she headed it with the title "Ethereal Silvers Win All Hearts"; a statement that could not have been closer to the truth. From the very beginning, silver tabbies, with their striking markings, then lighter silver tabbies and eventually shaded silvers and clear-coated Chinchillas, have caught the imagination of breeders and cat fanciers alike.
But it is to the words of Mrs. Balding, (formerly Miss Dorothy Gresham) and the owner of the famed 'Silver Lambkin' that we turn for a clear description of the appearance of clearer coated Silvers.
"It is something like twenty years ago that, amongst the competitors in the classes for long-haired tabbies, at the Crystal Palace and other important shows, was occasionally to be seen an alien with the ground colour of the silver tabby, but with very few stripes on the body. These cats were evidently sports from the silver tabby, so much so that the class for that section was the only one open to them; and, although they invariably showed great quality, breeders were loath to exhibit them in the medley of different coloured tabbies, where one of their chief beauties - the absence of stripes - became a disadvantage."
"Amongst these outcasts, was a cat of striking beauty, whose like has not been seen again. This was 'Sylvie', of unknown pedigree, owned by the late Mrs. Christopher, at whose death she became the property of the late Miss Saunders of Peterborough. A beautiful portrait of this exquisite chinchilla, is given in Mr. Harrison Weir's book 'Our Cats'. When judging at the Crystal Palace in 1886, this connoisseur and judge of world-wide repute awarded her first prize, medal and special for the best long-haired cat, getting over the difficulty of her silvery, unmarked coat, by calling her a very light blue tabby, though the puzzle was to find the tabby."
And thus, even before a class for the 'Self-Silver' or 'Chinchilla' was even created, the existence of a clear coated silver is confirmed, and the desire to emulate the ethereal beauty of 'Sylvie' firmly established.
It seems fitting that Mrs. Balding's own Silver male, 'Silver Lambkin' should be designated as the 'father' of the Chinchilla breed, although a study of silver pedigrees would tend to suggest that his dam, 'Beauty of Bridgeyate' could be equally deserving of the honour of 'founder' of this colour variety. In any event, 'Silver Lambkin' became the prime progenitor of this ever popular breed, so much so, that when he passed away late in 1906 at the ripe old age of 17 years, his death was widely reported in the press, the news reaching even to the farthest corners of the globe.
Registers associated with this article include The Incorporated Cat Fanciers Association of Great Britain (TICFAGB), National Cat Club (NCC), The Cat Club (CCR), Beresford Cat Club (BCC), Feline Federation Francaise (FFF), Siamese Cat Registry (SCR), US Register & Studbook for Cats (USR)including Supplement(USRS), The Studbook of the American Cat Association (ACA), and the Studbook & Register of the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA).
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