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Almost all of our information with regard to 'Ch. Monarch' is derived from the Stud Book and Registers of the National Cat Club, plus one or two articles from late nineteenth century periodicals, about the cats and dogs under the care of his very memorable lady owner, originally the famous Mrs. H. W. H. Warner, who later became the Hon. Mrs. McLaren Morrison. It is presumed that his former owner, Mrs. H. M. Robinson, would have befriended Mrs. McLaren Morrison early in the 1890's as both served on the Committee of the National Cat Club, in 1894-1895.1
However, 'Ch. Monarch' belongs to the early era of Blue Persian breeding, and he made his first mark as a kitten on the show bench, when, as a kitten in 1893, he won the coveted gold medal at the Crystal Palace Show, given for the best pair of kittens in the show.2
He is one of only a small number of show quality 'blues' for which there is a surviving photograph from the mid 1890's.
'Monarch' appears twice in the Registers of the National Cat Club, initially in Volume II, with the date of birth recorded as July of 1893, and his sire and dam recorded as 'unknown'. His breeder however, is clearly noted in the register as Mrs. H. M. Robinson (who was in fact only his former owner). However, this registration was probably hurried, and was later corrected with his re-entry under the same number in Vol. IV, where his date of birth is corrected to 22nd May, 1893, his breeder corrected to Mrs. Marriott, and his full background, including his sire and dam respectively, which were notably the well-known blues, 'Ch. Bundle'(NCC:1205) (by 'Thunder and Lightning' ex 'Buttons') and 'Peerless' (NCC:1553) (by Mrs. McLaren Morrison's own imported blue,'Grand Chartreuse' ex 'Pearl').1
Thunder and Lightning Eng Ch Bundle, Blue | Buttons Monarch, May-22-1893, Blue, M | Grand Chartreuse, Blue Peerless, Blue Pearl
As to when he became the property of Mrs. McLaren Morrison is unclear, but he was probably purchased at the time of his joint win as a kitten at the Crystal Palace Show in late 1893. It was customary in those times to list exhibits which may be for sale and provide a catalogue price for which they could be purchased through the offices of the Show Secretary, acting as an impartial third party agent. It seems likely that being one of a pair, this could certainly have been the case. In support of this theory, he does then appear in Mrs. McLaren Morrison's name, in Volume II of the Register of the National Cat Club, which covers cats registered up to the end of March 1894. This is within only a few months of his magnificent kitten win at the Crystal Palace.
Of his illustrious owner, we have much more information. Suffice to say, that she was one of Britain's most avid importers, of both cats and dogs, a well-known fancier in both domains, a strong supporter and Committee member of the National Cat Club, as well as a keen member and exhibitor with the Ladies Kennel Association.
Mr. Charles Lane, when describing her in his book 'Dog Shows and Doggy People' (1902) mentions her many imported foreign breeds of dogs, but has the following to say about her interest in cats:
"Mrs. Morrison has not confined her attention to dogs alone, but has for many years kept a considerable number of both long-haired and short-haired cats, with which she has won numerous prizes at the best at the Crystal Palace and other places. I think she has chiefly kept Blues and Whites in the former, and Tortoiseshells, Tortoiseshell and Whites, Blacks and Pure Whites in the latter, and she has been one of the most spirited buyers at the shows, frequently claiming some of the high-class specimens which took her fancy."4
Of her dog varieties, he tells us of her importations of 'Chows' from China, her 'Samoyedes' from the Arctic Regions, her 'Bhuteer' Terriers from India, her 'Spaniels' from both Tibet and Japan, and of her great success at home with her King Charles Spaniels. Of her kennels he informs us:
"If anyone had any doubts about this lady being a keen and enthusiastic fancier and lover of animals, they would be dispelled by the fact that, although her kennels are situated at Kepwick Park, far away from a railway station, in the neighbourhood of the Yorkshire Moors, near Thirsk, she has been represented, even during her visits to India with her husband, who has held an appointment there, at many of the shows in other parts of England."4
Due to both of his parents being relatively famous, 'Monarch' has a significant number of full and half siblings. Amongst the full siblings we find a few notional errors within dates of birth, the most obvious being 'Staplegrove Moonie', a blue female from the same parentage who was ostensibly listed as born June 1893. This being a physical impossibility, she was either a full litter sister born in May, or born in July. 'Moonie' was owned by Mrs. H. D. Ellis, and became a significant brood queen, producing a raft of new generation blues.1
Possibly after 'Monarch' was re-sold as a kitten to Mrs. McLaren Morrison, Mrs. Robinson purchased a full younger male sibling from Mrs. Marriott, named 'Krishna',(NCC: 1849) who was born in May 1894. This younger blue male went on to win a 1st and NCC Medal at Cheltenham that same year.1
Of sire siblings, two high profile cats are 'Southamption Duchess', (NCC: 1586) the epic chinchilla female produced by breeding Miss Gresham's 'Beauty' to 'Ch. Bundle', to infuse solid Persian bloodlines into the fledgling Chinchilla breed. Another, was the Blue male, 'Kingfisher' (NCC: 2060) (aka 'New Forest Kingfisher'), owned by Miss H Cochran, who became the sire of the well-known male 'Roy', who in his turn the sire of the beautiful 'Ch. Skellingthorpe Patrick'.1
'Kingfisher' who had formerly been named 'Blueberry' had been previously owned by Mr. Gambier Bolton, and had won a first prize at Crufts, in 1895.
A number of blue half-siblings out of 'Monarch's' dam 'Peerless', born in May 1895 were retained by Mrs. Marriott, among which were the male 'Turkson', and females 'Columbine', 'Juliet of Heale' and 'Cerulea'.1
As for further show results, 'Monarch' is then known to have been exhibited at the second famous Crufts Show in March 1895, where he won the Beresford Challenge Cup for the Best Long-haired Cat, besides taking other honours.
Again, we turn to the Registers of the National Cat Club, where we find four cats from two litters sired by 'Ch. Monarch'.
The first litter, born 17th April 1895, was out of a dark Silver Tabby female, named 'Butterfly', a daughter of the famous silver stud male 'The Nizam', (NCC: 1122),who was also owned by Hon. Mrs. McLaren Morrison. From this breeding two cats were retained, a Silver Tabby male appropriately named 'Silver Crescent' and a solid Blue male named 'Indigo of Kepwick'.1
The second litter, born 25th May, 1895, was out of a blue-eyed White female, named 'Forget-Me-Not', (NCC: 1156). From this breeding came two whites, a male and a female. The male, named 'Orange Blossom', was purchased by a Miss Rogers, while the female, named 'Myrtle of Kepwick' was retained for breeding by Hon. Mrs. McLaren Morrison.1
'Ch. Monarch' (born 1893), comes from the early period of Blue Persians, when the first and earliest bloodlines were being established from a core of fledgling lines. In this case, as a son of 'Ch. Bundle', (born 1891), himself sired by Mrs. Pell's foundation sire, 'Thunder and Lightning'. This makes him a only a second tier Blue, from one of a handful of originating cats, from which all modern Persian cats track their heritage.
The fact that he was purchased and managed by the Hon. Mrs. McLaren Morrison is also significant, as this indomitable lady was the initial powerhouse behind the Persian breed in particular. Of the 1800 cats registered by the National Cat Club between 1893 and 1899, 175 cats, were owned and registered by her, representing a whopping 9.72% of the entire register!5
And of those same 1800 cats, 93 were "imported", (not including cats bred from imported stock), and of these, 29 belonged to the Hon. Mrs. McLaren Morrison. This represents 31.18% of all imported cats recorded in the Register in the first five volumes! And we know of many more cats imported by her in the ensuing years.5
That Mrs. Morrison's cats contributed significantly to the expanding gene pool of our ancestral lines, is without question, and to date, largely unrecognised.
'Ch.Monarch' is just one of those contributors, albeit in a small way, but he is symbolic of the early work done by Mrs. Morrison, to establish the Persian as a premier breed of the Fancy.
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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