JAMES II (1901)
PHOTOS | SOCIAL MEDIA | REFERENCES
Silver Classic Tabbies have always appealed. By value of the contrast between their clear silver ground colour and their deep black markings, they are naturally 'showy', drawing attention to themselves. This is even more-so the case in shorthaired cats, but the longhaired varieties have also highly prized and appreciated, but it is naturally more difficult to produce a clear pattern when it is dispersed through a long coat which tends to move and alter with the natural movement of the cat. Although there have been a great many successful silver tabby shorthairs, the first of wide repute was Mrs. Herring's 'Champion Jimmy', born in 1890, who carved an enviable reputation for himself and who fortunately left behind, an excellent spread of his genes in both male and female progeny.
It was in fact, the great catalogue of successes enjoyed by 'Ch. Jimmy' and his sister 'Ch. Laurel Queen' (owned by Charles Lane), that helped to establish a strong contingent of early shorthair fanciers, who wished to duplicate their winning ways.
The next cat to begin duplicating this success was Mrs. Collinwood's 'James II', who accumulated an enviable record of wins in record time. 'James II' was also a prolific producer, and from him were descended several more generations of Silver Tabbies, on both sides of the Atlantic, establishing him as one of the prime progenitors of the Silver Tabby Shorthair in both the United Kingdom and the United States.
King of the Fancy, Silver Tabby Eng Ch Jimmy, Silver Tabby | Tibbie, Silver Tabby James II, Apr-1901, Silver Tabby, M | Gypsy King, Silver Tabby Rose, Silver Tabby Lady Godiva, Silver Tabby
'James II' has a rather clouded start. Although he is clearly named after his illustrious sire 'Ch. Jimmy' the first published records of his existence show him as sire and dam unknown. This appears in both the National Cat Club listings published in Our Cats for 12th April, 1902 in which his date of birth is given as 'April 1901'. Likewise, in The Cat Club Register, his transfer of ownership is recorded with sire and dam as unknown. However, this has been amended by hand, (presumably by Mrs. Clinton Locke), to show that his dam was Mrs. Newland's 'Rose'.9
In Volume 1 of The Cat Fanciers' Association Stud-Book, under the registration of his son, 'Pretty Correct', we find that 'James II' has by this time been given a National Cat Club registration number (NCC: 4742). We have no official record of his breeder, but if his dam was indeed Mrs. Newlands 'Rose' we can find another male named 'Jim Shelley' (NCC:3321) born in 1895, whose breeder of record is Mr. E. Newland. It seems a little more than coincidence that this male also shares the name 'Jim' and that 'James II' may in fact have been from a repeat breeding. So while our 'James' only may have been bred by Mr. Newland, there is no doubt that his first owner of record was Mrs. Leuty Collins. She appears as his owner in The Cat Club Register, where the transfer of ownership of 'James II' is recorded between Mrs. Leuty Collins and Mrs. Collingwood.
His former owner, Mrs. Leuty Collins, was a known fancier and columnist and a clear admirer of silver tabbies. In an article she wrote for The Windsor Magazine published in 1899, about show winning cats she describes his sire thus:
"Champion Jimmy, the property of Mrs. Herring, the veteran pioneer of lady fanciers, always holds his own. He revels now under the titles of 'Champion' and 'Premier', and has gained for his mistress over fifty first and special prizes, with silver cups and medals. He is a magnificent English silver tabby, with perfect markings, and, having captured so many coveted honours, considers himself beyond the average professional."10
On the character of Mrs. Collingwood as later his owner, Frances Simpson makes this observation:
"I know many cat-loving people, but I do not think that I have ever seen greater devotion shown to the feline race than is displayed at Bossington. Mrs. Collingwood is ever ready to support cat shows by entries, by guaranteeing classes, and by giving handsome prizes. Her cats are all shown in the pink of condition, and it is seldom that they appear in the pens unless their devoted mistress is in attendance."2
We then find an interesting tidbit about his home-life with Mrs. Collingwood in an excerpt taken from an article about her cattery and cats, that was published in the Christmas (Dec.19th) issue of Our Cats in 1903:
"It is rare to find a lover of one kind of animal only. Those who have this taste inborn usually find room in their hearts for many, or, at least, several kinds. Mrs. Collingwood is an enthusiast in the hunting field, and the stables at Bossington contain about a dozen horses.
"But we are more particularly concerned with the cats, and with the cat of all others, Ch. James II, the silver tabby short-hair, whose wins during a short show career constitute a record, and are recorded in full in another place in these pages. Jim is quite the pet of the establishment, and has the free run of the house. He appreciates the comfort of the kitchen fire, and always sleeps at the bottom of his mistress' bed. It is not at all extraordinary that Mrs. Collingwood, having this perfect silver tabby male in her possession, should have turned her attention seriously to the breed. She has procured one or two very good queens as his mates, and has met with the most conspicuous success in her breeding this season."11
The following are the notable sire-siblings of 'James II', by Champion Jimmy:
Show wins of record for 'James II' have been sourced from a combination of Show Catalogues, a review of his wins published in Our Cats up to the end of 1903, and the National Cat Club stud book. They include the following:
1st, Slough, 1901; 1st Brighton, 1901; 2nd, Reading, 1901; 2nd, Manchester, 1901; 2nd, NCCC Show, 1902; 1st Harpenden, 1902; 1st and Championship, Edinburgh, 1902; 1st and Championship, Botanic, 1902; , Altrincham, 1902; 1st and Special for Best Cat in Show, Crystal Palace, 1902; 1st and Special for Best Cat in Show, Cheltenham, 1902; 1st, Championship and Special for Best Short-hair Cat in Show, Midland Counties Cat Club Show, 1902; 1st and Championship, Northern Counties Cat Club Show, 1903; 1st and Championship, Harrogate 1903; 1st Sandy, 1903; 1st and Special for Best Short-hair Cat, Glasgow, 1903; 1st and Special for Best Cat in Show, Cheltenham, 1903; 1st and Special for Best Cat in Show, Brighton, 1903; 1st, Midland Counties Cat Club, 1903; 1st, Crystal Palace, 1904; 1st Sheffield, 1904; 1st Southampton, 1905; 1st Sheffield, 1905.
As can be seen from the above, these awards include 5 Championships and multiple Best Shorthair and Best Cat in Show wins. In the December 1903 edition of Our Cats the following codicil is added for his listed wins gained in 1903:
"His wins have been made under the following judges: Mrs. Mackenzie-Stewart, Miss Cochran, Miss F. Simpson, Sir Claud Alexander, Messrs. Louis Wain, Gresham, Mason, House, Ambrose, Roberts, Woodiwiss, Welburn, Lane, and Young."
We also find the below commentary on his winning ways, in The Book of The Cat (1903), by Frances Simpson:
"James, is a beautiful specimen of a silver tabby, and during this year alone has won eight first prizes. At Altrincham, he had the honour of claiming championship and silver medal for the best cat in show, beating all the long-haired cats that generally carry off this coveted prize; and at the Crystal Palace, he was the admired of all admirers, with a number of prize tickets covering his pen."2
And under his photograph in the book Cats: Show and Pet (1903) by Charles House, we find the following caption:
"Winner of Premiership best Short-haired Cat Crystal Palace, Colmore challenge bowl for Best Cat in Show at Cheltenham, gold medal best Cat in Show at Altrincham and many other first and special prizes."1
This stunningly marked Silver Tabby was only naturally highly sought after by other breeders as a potential mate for their queens. So much so, that Mrs. Collingwood received so many requests for his services that she reconsidered her original stance, not to have him standing at stud. Accordingly the following announcement appeared in the editorial columns of 'Our Cats' on 5th September, 1903.
"Mrs. Collingwood has been so overwhelmed with requests to receive visitors to her grand silver tabby stud cat, 'James II', that at last she has decided to place him at stud for a few weeks, and an advertisement to that effect will be found in this issue. 'Ch. James II' is without doubt, the finest living silver tabby shorthair. He has won five N.C.C. Championships, and many times taken special for best cat in the show over longhairs. His numerous prizes have been won under twelve different judges."12
Notable progeny were sired by 'James II' from a number of queens, which we list here in order of litter date by queen, with subsequent progeny:
From 'HEATHER BELLE':
(Litter born March, c.1902).
(Litter born 2nd May, 1903).
(Litter born 1st July, 1903).
From 'WYNNSTAY SILVER PRINCESS':
(Litter born 28th April, 1904).
(Litter born 21st May, 1904).
(Litter born 12th June, 1904).
From 'MISS TOODLES':
(Litter born 20th April, 1905) (Father/Daughter breeding).
From 'TITSIE' (aka TESSIE):
(Litter born 23rd April, 1905)
From 'RAMBLING KATE':
(Litter born May, 1905).
(Litter born 28th October, 1905).
From 'SALLY UGLY MUG':
(Litter born 9th June, 1906).(a direct Triple on James II!)
From 'YOUNG LADY':
(Litter born 22nd October, 1906).(Father/daughter breeding).
In many ways, 'James II' falls into a special category of his own as the progenitor of so many lovely silver tabbies registered in both the United Kingdom and the United States. His was a lasting legacy, with the early and spectacular arrival of his progeny such as 'Miss Toodles' making a grand entry into the show scene as a winning kitten in England in 1903, and later, his grand-daughter/great grand-daughter 'Genesee Valley Jane' having a similarly spectacular entry into the show scene in the United States in 1908.
Other sons and daughters in both countries would carry his bloodlines into succeeding generations making him an early foundation cat for the British Shorthair and their American-bred counterparts, long before their breed names were even established.
Through his own heritage, he connects his progeny to the originating silver line that began with Mr. T. Sugden's "King of the Fancy". But none of this would have been possible had it not been for the intervention of Mrs. Collingwood. It was she who, after obtaining 'Jim' from Mrs. Leuty Collins, campaigned him so successfully and then carefully selecting his future mates. Mrs. Collingwood consistently produced some of his best early progeny, ultimately sharing the lines with the incomparable Miss Jane Cathcart in the United States, who was careful to accumulate a bevy of sons, daughters, grandsons and grand-daughters, in order to preserve the availability of the lines and the distinctive pattern held within that gene pool.
That 'James' was able to enjoy such a natural and happy home life, while also being a much-admired show specimen presented in prime condition, and producing an array of spectacular progeny, must be attributed to Mrs. Collingwood's excellent management and great care. It is a reminder to us that a healthy, top show and breeding cat, should always be, first and foremost, a much-loved and appreciated pet.
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).
Home | Cats | Gallery | Clubs | People | Artifacts | Articles | Updates | Contact Us
©The CFA Foundation, Inc and The Harrison Weir Collection