OAKLANDS SEABREEZE (1910)
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An extraordinarily beautiful Blue Persian female, out of an extraordinary dam, Ch.Oaklands Seabreeze promised to equal, if not nearly eclipse the winning performance of her illustrious dam, Ch. Oaklands Sceptre.
Being one of only two known surviving kittens from Sceptre, 'Seabreeze' was a very precious part of the Oaklands Cattery of Miss Gladys Cheetham, of Brighouse, Yorkshire. She was also one of the first of Miss Cheetham's own breeding to gain significant recognition. In this respect, she became the second generation pride of Oaklands, her winning ways taking her to great heights, synonymous with those of Oaklands Sheila and Oaklands Steadfast, while following closely in the paw-prints of her dam's magnificent show career. The fame of the 'Oaklands' blues was spreading, and on the continent it was possible to buy postcards which featured 'Seabreeze', evidence of the spread of the notoriety of the Miss Cheetham's 'Oaklands' cattery. These cats already represented the cream of Blue Persian breeding in England, and especially in blue females; yet, this was still a couple of years before the triumphant arrival her outstanding male, 'Oaklands Steadfast'.
Sir Archie of Arrandale, Blue Sir Archie II of Arrandale, Blue | Blue Lassie of Arrandale, Blue Oaklands Seabreeze, Jul-9-1910, Blue, F | The Gondolier, Blue Eng Ch Oaklands Sceptre, Blue Donna Ulsterina, Blue
Oaklands Seabreeze was from a litter born on 9th July 1910, sired by the well known Blue Persian male 'Ch. Sir Archie II of Arrandale' (bred and owned by Mrs. Geo. Wilson) and out of one of the most famous of the superlative Oaklands blue females,'Ch. Oaklands Sceptre'.
This particular combination is notable for its line-breeding on 'Ch. Ayrshire Ronald', who was the grandsire of 'Ch. Archie II of Arrandale' through that cat's sire, Ch. Archie of Arrandale, but also because 'Ch. Ayrshire Ronald' was also the sire of 'Don Carlos', a popular blue male who was the grandsire of 'Ch. Oaklands Sceptre' through her dam, 'Donna Ulsterina'. Outcross lines in this combination included a tracing to 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' via the dam of 'Sire Archie II of Arrandale' and via 'The Gondolier' (The sire of 'Oaklands Sceptre) a tracing to both 'Titan of Thorpe' (through 'Haddo Bluebread'), and 'Ch. Blue San Toy', the maternal grandsire of 'The Gondolier'.
At the time, few Blue males could even come close to matching the show success that had been enjoyed by 'Ch. Oaklands Sceptre'. 'Sir Archie of Arrandale' and his son 'Sir Archie II of Arrandale' were two of a small number of males who stood out as potential mates for this exceptional queen.
For the young Miss Cheetham, the resultant litter was a homebred one, out of a queen she has purchased and very successfully campaigned. Therefore 'Seabreeze' and her litter sister 'Rosedrop' could be entered into the Breeders classes, which they were, and delightfully, they were regularly successful in taking the class. Miss Cheetham may have been a young exhibitor, but she was highly organised and highly competitive. From the many photos we have seen that came from her estate, she appears to have been a highly motivated and skilful groomer, who ensured that her cats received every opportunity to win.
Miss Cheetham no doubt inherited both her desire for excellence and competitive streak from her father, Mr. J.A. Cheetham, whose success and knowledge in the breeding and exhibiting poultry some years earlier, where he proved invincible even amongst the most popular breeds, demonstrates a wealth of wisdom and tenacity. So although Miss Cheetham's original desire to enter into the realm of cat breeding, was at first met with some opposition, her father preferring that she take an interest in Pomeranian dogs, as he was partial to this breed himself. But it was plain to all that Gladys was obdurate in her choice, and her devotion to cats eventually prevailed.
Like any worthy father, Mr. Cheetham set about to secure for his daughter the best obtainable stock at the best price, leaving the rest to her own application, governed initially by his advice. Having received a generous start, the battle for success then became her own, and although not fond of cats, Mr. Cheetham none-the-less derived pleasure from his daughter's interest in them and in following her hard-earned triumphs.
In the litter born 9th July 1910 from this combination, the cattery register confirms that out of four kittens born, two were dead and two living. Both the dead kittens were males, so 'Ch.Oaklands Seabreeze' was one of only two surviving blue females. The surviving litter sister was 'Oaklands Rosedrop'. Both females were retained by Miss Cheetham for breeding and showing.
Mr. T.J. Ambrose, who was both a popular judge and journalist provides us with an insight into the qualities of 'Rosedrop' in an article he wrote for Fur and Feather on the cats at the 'Oaklands' stud. His commentary on 'Rosedrop' was as follows:
"A beautiful cat is Rosedrop, as well she might be, considering she is a daughter of that charming queen, Sceptre. Here is another instance of the influence of Oaklands, from the breeding standpoint. Rosedrop is very sound in colour, especially in undercoat, built on very cobby lines, possesses a charming head, is good in eye, and, at the time of my visit, in perfect coat and condition."7
He later elaborates on his impressions of 'Seabreeze':
"Seabreeze was the next feline beauty to parade before us, and as I feasted on the charms of these queens, the impression grew as to the object of the master mind that was behind the stud. 'Good big'uns' as they say in the North. The queens were grand in this respect, and we all know that where size is a characteristic of a breed, 'good big'uns' never give little ones, however good they are, much chance. And quite right, too, providing they are correct in type and carry quality. Mere size is, and never should be, a governing factor. With queens of the Seabreeze and Sceptre type, suitably mated, and reasonable luck, blues are adding another pillar to the Cat Fancy. Such grand queens cannot fail to strengthen the variety, because they both have such fascinating type, size and quality.
"Seabreeze has truly gorgeous eyes, the iris not only being of a most fascinating colour, but also of great width. This, with large, wide-awake orbs, makes the expression most bewitching, whilst her head, bone, and make up, not forgetting her great wealth of coat, complete a wonderfully good queen, as her winnings show."7
But of course, due to the immense popularity of their exceptional sire, 'Sir Archie II of Arrandale', both 'Seabreeze' and 'Rosedrop' were half-siblings to a great many other blues, far too many to be listed here individually.
In an article written for Our Cats in early 1950 by GCCF Chairman Cyril Yeates, on the 'Birth of the Blues', mention is made of 'Sir Archie II of Arrandale' in a listing of Blues that Mr. Yeates considered worthy of note.
"Sir Archie II of Arrandale, by Sir Archie ex Blue Lassie of Arrandale, born 1907 was a big cat excelling in colour, and a prolific sire."11
He then goes on to list his best sons and daughters, which included Champion Remus of Highgate (M), Champion Oaklands Seabreeze (F), Edward the Peacemaker (M), and Scilla of Hadley (F). But these were only a small sampling from a list of progeny in excess of 160.
Our own selection of notables from this long list of sire-siblings of 'Seabreeze' and 'Rosedrop' includes notable English-based cats, plus a range of cats that were duly exported. Among these are:
'Saxon Earl Godwin', Blue Male born 9th April, 1911. Out of 'Blue Girlie of Arrandale'. Bred by Mrs. Geo. Wilson and owned by Miss E.M. Savage.(OC:13/Jan/1912)
Ch. Remus of Highgate, Blue Male born 9th May, 1909. Out of 'Sprite of Highgate'. Bred and owned by Mrs. Fisher White. He was described by Mr. Cyril Yeates as "cobby and round headed but short of coat". (NCC:6869) (CFA:v7)
Edward The Peacemaker, Blue Male born 12th April, 1910. Out of 'Orange Bright Eyes'. Bred by Mrs. Thackeray and owned by Mrs. H. Marshall. (Supp/SB 1)
Scilla of Hadley, Blue Female born 15th March, 1910. Out of 'Berkshire Lassie'. Bred and owned by Miss J.M. Fisher. Dam noted English Champions, 'Azure of Hadley'(m), 'Princess Patricia of Hadley'(f) and 'Knuson of Hyver', as well as 'Tom Thumb of Hyver'.(Both 'Princess Patricia' and 'Tom Thumb' being eventually exported to the United States. Also dam of 'Bo Peep of Hadley'(f) and 'Blue Splendour of Revelstoke'(m), both also exported to the United States. (NCC:7728) (CFA v6).
Betty Blue, Blue Female born 10th March, 1916. Out of 'Princess of Orange'. Bred by Miss Hales and owned by Mrs. Ralph E. Clark. (Cincinnati). (CFA v6)
Blue Comet, Blue Female born 24th May, 1909. Out of 'Highland Lassie'. Bred by Mrs. Godsall and originally owned by Mrs. R.P. McCoun (USA). Later the property of Mrs. Chester Chapin.(New York).
English Coquette, Blue Female born 19th February, 1915. Out of 'Princess of Orange'. Bred by Miss Hales and owned by Mrs. W.A. Marnet. (Los Angeles, Calif.) (ACA:3070 v8)
Gretta of Arrandale, Blue Female born 23rd November, 1911. Out of 'Bonnie Jean of Arrandale'. Bred by Mrs. Geo. Wilson and owned by Mrs. C.W. Chapin (New York). (CFA:1180 v3)
Keith of Revelstoke, Blue Male born 4th October, 1910. Out of 'Lady Love'. Bred by Miss Baggs and owned by Mrs. Howard Ebey. (Chicago) (ACA:v5)
Lady Bifolia of Revelstoke, Blue Female born 15th September, 1909. Out of 'Lady Love'. Bred by Miss Baggs and owned by Mrs. Howard Ebey. (Chicago) (ACA:v5)
Miss Gibbs, a Blue Female born 22nd July 1910. Out of 'Golden Orbs'. Bred by Mrs. S. Newman and owned by Miss Ava Pollard. (New Jersey) (ACA:1390 v5)
Mollie of Hyver, a Blue Female born 5th March, 1910. Out of 'Berkshire Lassie'. Bred by Miss Fisher and originally owned by Mrs. C.H. Chapin. (New York). Later owned by Mrs. Kelf. (Staten Island) (CFA:v3)
Sir Harold of Islesworth, a Blue Male born 4th July, 1901. Out of 'Trissie'. Bred by Miss S. Steele and owned by Mrs. F.L. Norton (New York). (ACA:v5) (OC: 11/Feb/1911)
Winsome Lassie, a Blue Female. Date of birth not recorded. Out of 'Lady Love'. Bred by Miss Baggs and owned by Miss H. Seymour (San Francisco). (ACA:v5)
Show wins: (for 'Seabreeze')
The following show wins by 'Seabreeze' are recorded in the Breeders Records1:
Show wins: (for 'Rosedrop')
The following show wins by 'Rosedrop' are recorded in the Breeders Records1:
Sadly, there are no live progeny of record for 'Seabreeze'. She is known to have had one litter to 'Champion Oaklands Steadfast' in 1913, but on this occasion, the three kittens were all born dead.¹ This must have been a bitter blow to her breeder and owner, being as it was a combination of three of the best Blue Persian cats known at the time, with the sire being the famous winner of Westminster in 1913, and the dam being the prizewinning daughter of Ch. Oaklands Sceptre and Champion Sir Archie II of Arrandale.
What a superb combination of both bloodlines and phenotype this would have been!
The story of the Oaklands Cattery is one of remarkable success in the show ring, where the desire to improve and succeed comes together with both the resources, determination and talent to make the seemingly impossible, feasible. In the article by Mr. T.J.Ambrose we are given insight into the great beginnings of the Oaklands Stud, but it is to the singular credit of Miss Gladys Cheetham that she carried out her dream of owning, producing and exhibiting the best Blue Persians possible. That she was successful in doing so in the pre-First World War period, is testified to by the words of 'the Grand Old Man of the Cat Fancy, former GCCF Chairman Cyril Yeates, who wrote:-
"Between 1912 and 1914 Miss Gladys Cheetham's Blues were carrying all before them. At the Southern Counties Show of 1914, the Oaklands cats took, 1st and Ch., 2nd, extra 2nd, 3rd and extra 3rd in Blue female adults! Two of these, - Ch.Oaklands Sceptre and Ch. Oaklands Sheila - were sired by The Gondolier."11
Put into perspective, the Blue Persian Classes would have attracted a massive entry. Cyril Yeates admiration for Miss Cheetham success comes from the knowledge that the likelihood of any one exhibitor picking up every possible place win in this colour in a single sex class is extremely unlikely given natural probabilities. Nevertheless, she succeeded in doing so. It was this consistency which created and added flame to the fire of fame that followed the Oaklands Blues.
'Seabreeze', being a home-bred female, represented the culmination of this work and Miss Cheetham was justifiably proud of this exemplary female. Once this high bar had been set, the battle to maintain the Blue at the top of the Persian breed tree continued unabated for another 70 plus years. The Blue Persian had, by 1914, demonstrated that it was the Prince of Persians in a plethora or emerging Persian varieties. And as such, it became the cornerstone of the breed's ongoing development.
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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