WHITE FRIAR(1894)


HISTORICAL BACKGROUND | PARENTAGE & OWNERSHIP | SIBLINGS & SHOWS | BREEDING & PROGENY
PHOTOS | SOCIAL MEDIA | REFERENCES

Photo: The Windsor Magazine, (1899). Courtesy The Harrison Weir Collection.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:

Originally referred to as the "Foreign Longhair", many of the early whites were also known as 'French Cats', as a good number of them were brought to London from Paris. But their true roots were older and more widespread, including a liberal admixture of Angora and Persian imports from the middle and far eastern regions, including what today are known as Turkey, Northern Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and India.

Their popularity was unparalleled for many decades, until finally challenged by the rise in popularity of the 'Blue' Persian and the ethereal Chinchilla or Silver Longhair. But they continued to be perennial favourites and in succeeding generations and decades would often rise to the very height of success at Championship Cat Shows.

The passion expressed for them by their adoring owners is perhaps best summed up in a quote from 19th century cat judge and author Charles H. Lane who said:

"To my mind, the White is one of the most beautiful of the Long Hairs, and when pure in tint, in full coat, and with the pale blue eyes which should be a sin qua non in this variety, is an ornament fit for the palace of an emperor."2

'Champion White Friar', was arguably the most sought after white male in the early history of the fancy. His contribution to the Persian breed was enormous both in the United Kingdom and also in the United States. However, we can only speculate on his background, which, while it still remains unknown, is certainly likely to have included imported bloodlines, and those, very probably having their origin in India.

Although he was bred to many fine females and we will list and review the breeding's which in turn influenced and contributed to the growing Persian gene pool, it was his memorable and repeated pairing with Miss Hunt's 'Ch. Crystal' that consistently produced some of the best blue-eyed whites to be found.

He was one of three contemporary foundation white males that carved a proud history for White Persians at Shows and as formidable stud cats renown for producing quality progeny. The other two males being Miss White Atkins 'Ch. White Knight' and Mrs. Pettit's 'King of the Pearls' respectively. These three males were for some time akin to a veritable 'triumvirate', that serious breeders of whites all wished to have a share in!

His beginnings in the fancy however were very modest, his rise to fame being virtually accidental, but the story of it, a most memorable one.

PARENTAGE & OWNERSHIP:

        Unknown
    Unknown 
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White Friar, NCC 3008, 1894, Blue-Eyed White M
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    Unknown
        Unknown

Born in 1894, 'White Friar' began life with the name 'Tim of Redgrave' and was owned by a Mrs. Horsfall. But by the time he was registered with the National Cat Club, (NCC:3008) in 1898, he had adopted his new name of 'White Friar' and was then owned by Mrs. Florence E.J. Champion.

How 'Tim of Redgrave' became the 'White Friar' is both an amusing and historically significant story, in that as 'Tim of Redgrave', this White Persian cat was relatively unknown. His transformation into the 'White Friar' and subsequent success at shows, elevated him to the greatest heights of recognition, and to being one of the most sought after Persian stud cats in the country.

The primary agent in this transformation appears to have been the eminent cat and dog judge, Mr. Fred Gresham, who clearly had an eye for a good cat and a golden opportunity. The story is ably recalled by Mrs. Champion, in an article reprinted from the Cats Review, published in the October 31st, 1903 edition of Our Cats.

"Now to come to my first purchase, the now world renowned 'Ch. White Friar'. At the Summer Show of the National Cat Club, held at the Botanic Gardens in 1898, this famous cat was exhibited by Mrs. Horsfall, under the name of Tim of Redgrave.

"Many fanciers present, including myself, noticed the cat's wonderful head and shape, but from the shocking condition he was shown in, no one, not even the judge, knew whether the cat was a white or a white with cream coloured patches.

"Naturally he was not in the prize money, although the judge gave him "Very Highly Commended" for head, shape and eyes. His owner, Mrs. Horsfall, had simply kept him as a stable cat, hence his terrible condition.

Above left: Judge - Mr. Fred Gresham. Above right: Mrs. Florence E.J. Champion.
Photos: Mr. Gresham, W.H. Pugh, Liverpool. Dog Shows and Doggy People (1902) by Charles H.Lane.5
Mrs. F.E.J. Champion. The Lady's Realm, August 1900.6
Image courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection

"After the judging, Mr. Fred Gresham, (the cat judge) advised me to buy the cat as his owner was willing to part with him at a low figure, and Mr. Gresham assured me Tim was really white, having seen him running about the stables, at Redgrave, on a former visit. Well, to cut matters short, I purchased Tim. When we first combed him our troubles began, and it took three people to perform the operation. Of course he soon gave in and eventually became very fond of having his toilet made, being naturally of a very sweet disposition. It took all the time from June to October, to get him in what we considered "show form."

"In October at the Crystal Palace Show I exhibited him under his new name of White Friar. He won first in his class, the white Championship, and eight cups and specials. None of the cat fanciers could believe he was the same cat, he had so improved. Since that date he has gone on, steadily winning, until I believe he now holds the record number of six championships and about 20 first prizes."20

Mrs. Florence Champion, along with her husband Mr. Alexander James Champion, son F.G. Champion and daughters Dorothy Bevill, and Ethel R.B. Champion, were natives of Surrey, England. The women were all active members of the Ladies Kennel Association and the National Cat Club, having an interest in dogs (Pomeranians), and Persian cats, namely specialising in Silvers or Chinchillas (Argent Cattery), and Whites.

However, in 1900, the family made a momentous decision to emigrate to the United States. Naturally this involved a tremendous rationalisation of their pets, both canine and feline and the hard decisions had to be made about whom they would take with them to re-establish their kennels and catteries in the United States. Mrs. Champion decided to leave 'White Friar' in England, and to take with her to the United States, his odd-eyed white* grandson 'White Tsar II'(BCC:1022) bred in England by Mrs. Pritchard, out of 'Kate', and his odd-eyed white* daughter, 'White Friar's Daughter' (ACA:92), bred by Mrs. Horsman, out of a blue 'Nonna'.

Mrs. Champion's reasoning for selecting odd-eyed whites becomes clearer in an article on eye colour in whites, written by her for the The Cat Review (USA) and republished in Our Cats in November, 1903. From this we take a number of short but highly relevant extracts:

"To obtain kittens with really dark blue eyes it is best to have one of the parents odd-eyed or yellow-eyed, or even two odd-eyed parents are better than two blue-eyed, as I will presently show. From our own pair of blue-eyed whites we never bred one kitten with such deep blue eyes as we have from two odd-eyed."

"When leaving England for America I determined to take with me a pair of whites from my old strain. All I was able to obtain was two odd-eyed white cats*. The male, 'White Tsar II', is a son of 'White Tsar', from a blue-eyed mother, so you will see that although both parents were blue-eyed, the kittens came odd-eyed in this case. My white queen is a daughter of 'Ch. White Friar', from the celebrated orange-eyed blue queen 'Nonna'. 'White Friar's Daughter' is also odd-eyed and is related to 'White Tsar II', who is a grandson of 'White Friar' while she is a daughter.

"In the first litter from these two cats there were two blue-eyed and one orange-eyed kitten. The next litter, born last February, contained two blue-eyed whites, a male and a female, one amber-eyed male and one orange-eyed female. 'Miss Bob White' as the latter is called, (Ed: Registered as 'White Star') has eyes of a wonderful copper colour, and her litter brother the blue-eyed Friar, has gorgeous, round, deep blue eyes. Neither of these two litters had an odd-eyed kitten amongst them.

"In the third litter from the same parents, now six weeks old, there are five fine kittens, three with blue eyes, and two with odd-eyes. What all breeders of white Persians on this side of the water must aim at is to obtain the right type of a cat. A great many of the well known whites in England lack this very type, and this is the reason that old 'Ch. White Friar', now nine years of age, and his many descendants, are usually in the premier positions at all the largest shows."23

'White Friar' was sold jointly to Miss Mary Hunt and Mrs. Finnie Young, in Scotland late in 1900.

In her chapter on White Long-hairs, Miss Frances Simpson provides us with her view on Mrs. Champion's contribution to Whites and specifically on 'White Friar':

"Mrs. Champion, whose name is well known in 'catty' circles, and who has now left these shores for America, did a great deal to establish a thoroughly good strain of blue-eyed Persians. Her celebrated 'White Friar' (now in the possession of Mrs. Finnie Young and Miss Hunt) is justly considered the finest male specimen in the fancy. Certainly he could only have been beaten by his son 'White Tsar', bred by Mrs. Champion from her 'White Witch'. This cat, which assuredly would have had a notable career, was sold by Mrs. Champion for £20 to Mrs. Colburn, in America. He arrived in poor condition and died shortly afterwards."10

The 'Champion' family move finally came in the latter part of 1901, and their arrival in the United States was reported 'back home' in the 16th November issue of Our Cats:

"Mrs. Champion and her family have arrived in New York, per S.S. Cymric and have caused quite a flutter in catty circles across the water, their advent being heralded by exclusive telegrams in the New York Herald and Field and Fancy, our enterprising trans-Atlantic contemporaries. They took out with them eleven cats and four Pomeranians."24

Mrs. Champion and her daughters, Dorothy Bevill Champion and Ethel R.B. Champion were all heavily involved in the affairs of the growing Fancy in the United States. All three acted as judges in the early American fancy at the beginning of the new century.

Ethel was for a time the Registrar (Recorder) for the Cat Fanciers' Association, later moving allegiance to the Cat Fanciers Federation. Dorothy Bevill Champion is best known for her classic work, Everybody's Cat Book, which was published in New York, in 1909.

Returning to 'White Friar', we have Mrs. Hunt comments relative to his career after he changed hands:

"Since Mrs. Finnie Young and I purchased 'White Friar' in 1900, whites have become much more plentiful in Scotland, and the competition is now very keen indeed up North. 'White Friar' has had a very successful career since he came into our hands, both as sire and on the show bench, and can still hold his own against all comers. He has won sixteen first prizes since 1900, besides championships and numerous specials."10

SIBLINGS & SHOWS:

There are no known siblings of record for 'Champion White Friar'.

Show Results:

'White Friar' after winning a first at the Botanical Gardens Show, 1898.
Photo: Harmwsorth Magazine, 19007
Image courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection

Wins listed in the National Cat Club Register, Vol.5 include:

  • Crystal Palace - 1898; 2 Firsts, Championship, 2 Challenge Trophies, a 2nd and 8 Specials.
  • Brighton NCC - 1899; 1st, 2nd and Championship.
  • Holloway - 1899; 2nd. Botanic 1899; 3rd.

The below wins were gained after he became the property of Miss Hunt and Mrs. Finnie Young and are taken from show reports published in Our Cats:

  • (OC:17/12/1904) "At Kilmarnock Show on March 30th, Mr. Colin Campbell judged. 'Ch. White Friar' and 'Withnell Masterpiece' won as best long-hair and short-hair respectively."25
  • (OC:17/12/1904) "Falkirk Show was held on April 7th. Mr. Mackintosh judged, and 'Ch. White Friar' and 'Withnell Masterpiece' again took premier positions."25

BREEDING & PROGENY:

Among the most famous of 'Champion White Friar's' progeny are those that came from a classic breeding to Mrs. Hunt's 'Champion Crystal' who was, at the time, considered to be the best blue-eyed white female in the country.(pictured below). From this combination, in a number of litters, came 'Ladysmith', owned by Mrs. McLaren Morrison, 'White Butterfly' owned by Miss White Atkins, 'Blue-Eyed Edelweiss',(aka Edelweiss of Kensington) owned by Miss Kerswill, 'Ch. Purity' owned by Miss Ava Pollard (USA), 'Jovial Monk' owned by Miss Ward, 'White Friar II' owned by Edwenia Baxter, 'Crystal Friar' owned by Mrs. Champion, and a little known queen named 'Snowbelle' also owned by Mrs. White Atkins.

Mrs. Hunt's 'Champion Crystal'
Photo: C. Reid, Wishaw. Russian Postcard8
Image courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection

Some of the early breedings were thwarted with disaster, but in time, a healthy dynastic lines was firmly established from this unique combination on both sides of the Atlantic. The "White Friar" lines and especially those from a combination which included 'Crystal', remained highly sought after.

Miss Hunt further explains: "The very best kitten I owned was never exhibited; he went to Mrs. Champion, who considered him the best and healthiest kitten for his age she had ever seen. Unfortunately he died shortly after she had him. He was by 'Champion White Friar' ex 'Crystal' and was one of the same litter as 'Jovial Monk' which did winning for Miss Ward, who purchased him from me at the Crystal Palace, where he took first."10

Miss Simpson herself enlarges upon the progeny of "White Friar" and remarks about a kitten she had seen from him, and may in fact have been referring to the same kitten described by Miss Hunt.

"I remember seeing an absolutely perfect white Persian kitten at Mrs. Champion's. It was by 'White Friar' ex 'Crystal'. He had startling deep blue eyes, tiny ears, and broad, round head, and at nine weeks old his coat measured nearly three inches across. Alas! Though healthy and strong, this proved to be too perfect a specimen for this world, and 'Crystal Friar' succumbed to the epidemic of gastritis then raging among our feline pets."10

Other famous whites sired by 'Champion White Friar' but out of alternative queens, included Mrs. Everett M. Davis' 'White Friar Junior'(USR:94), (Imported in Dam), out of 'White Lilac'. 'White Friar Junior' in his turn was the sire of 'White Friar III'(USR:304), out of 'Little Miss Eiger'(USR:436), and 'Oberon'(King of the Friars)(USR:480), out of 'Cricket'. This 'Oberon' should not be confused with the English born 'Ch. Oberon' (CFA:1558), owned by Miss Ava Pollard, a blue-eyed white son of 'White Knight' out of 'Edelweiss of Kensington'(Blue-Eyed Edelweiss) by 'White Friar' and out of 'Crystal'.

Other prominent sons, were Mrs. W. Eames Colburn's 'Blue-Eyed Sirdar'(USR:96), out of 'Snowflake', and Mrs. Florence Champion's 'White Tsar' (ACA:133), out of 'White Witch'. 'Blue-Eyed Sirdar' was the sire of Miss Emma Austin's 'Sir Friar' (ACA:336), and 'White Tsar', was to become the sire of Mrs. Champion's 'White Tsar II' (BCC:1022), who was the basis of establishing a new dynastic line of whites, some from outcross lines and others by doubling back on his famous grandsire 'White Friar'. 'Sir Friar' was also in turn the sire of Mrs. Davidson's 'Columbine White Friar' (ACA:841), out of the prize-winning white female, 'Ch. Maid of Avenal'.

One catalyst in this process was another daughter of 'Champion White Friar' called 'White Friar's Daughter' (ACA:92), bred by Mrs. Horsman in England and owned by Mrs. Champion. She was the product of an outcross to a female named 'Nonna'(blue lines). 'White Friar's Daughter' was the dam of Mrs. Champion's male 'White Tsarevitch' (by White Tsar II), and to add to possible confusion, a female from this breeding also named 'White Tsar' (ACA:93) but fortunately nick-name as 'Miss Bob White'!

'White Tsar II' (BCC:1022) was also used by Miss Ava Pollard over her 'Ch. Purity', one of the most successful and decorated daughters of 'Champion White Friar' and 'Champion Crystal'. This produced Miss Pollard's famous 'White Monk'(ACA:246), a full brother 'White Tassell' (ACA:808) and a female 'White Deutzia' (ACA:245).

'Champion White Friar' and 'Champion Crystal'
Photos: White Friar - Windsor Magazine, 18993
Crystal - C.Reid, an English Photo Postcard9
Image courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection

So now, let's look at 'Champion White Friar's' progeny out of 'Champion Crystal'.

Firstly 'Ladysmith', (born 17th October, 1899), bred by Miss Mary Hunt and sold to Mrs. McLaren Morrison.

'Ladysmith' owned by Mrs. McLaren Morrison
'Ch. White Friar' x 'Ch. Crystal'
Photo: C.Reid, Wishaw. The Book of The Cat (1903) by Frances Simpson10
Image courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection

Mrs. McLaren Morrison, who was known to be a very great admirer of Whites, and who had also imported a good number from eastern origins over a many years, was quick to establish her own lines based upon 'White Friar' with the purchase of 'Ladysmith', whom she then regularly bred back to her famous sire. From these breedings came the following progeny and sire siblings:

'LADYSMITH'

  • (in a litter born 12th November, 1902)
  • 'AZALEA', a blue-eyed white female, presumably retained by Mrs. McLaren Morrison. (OC:28/Feb/1903)
  • 'CHRYSANTHEMUM', a blue-eyed white female, presumably retained by Mrs. McLaren Morrison. (OC:28/Feb/1903)
  • 'THE WHITE COON', a blue-eyed white female, sold to Miss Aileen S.D. Hutton Balfour.(OC:21/Mar/1903)

  • (in a litter born 28th April, 1903)
  • 'AYLIFFE', a blue-eyed white female, presumably retained by Mrs. McLaren Morrison. (OC:29/Aug/1903)
  • 'DEARIE', a blue-eyed white neutered male, (OC:29/Aug/1903) erroneously listed under 'Blacks' in the list of NCC Registrations.
  • 'FLY', a blue-eyed white neutered male, (OC:29/Aug/1903).
  • 'MERRYLEA', a blue-eyed white female, presumably retained by Mrs. McLaren Morrison. (OC:22/Aug/1903).
  • 'MUSCARI', a blue-eyed white female, retained and exhibited by Mrs. McLaren Morrison. (MCCC:1905) (MCCC:1906).
  • 'WOOSCHEUKA', a blue-eyed white male, sold to Mrs. C. Baxter. Erroneously recorded with dob 03/06/1903 (not possible from this breeding)

  • (in a litter born 23rd March, 1904)
  • 'CRICKET', a blue-eyed white male, presumably retained by Mrs. McLaren Morrison. (OC:16th/July/1904).

'The White Butterfly' owned by Miss White Atkins
'Ch. White Friar' x 'Ch. Crystal'
Photo: E.E.Lipputt, Leamington. The Book of The Cat (1903) by Frances Simpson10
Image courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection

'WHITE BUTTERFLY" (aka 'The White Butterfly') blue-eyed white female, born in 1899.
No progeny of record.

Bred by Miss Mary Hunt, from 'White Friar' and 'Crystal' 'The White Butterfly' was owned by Miss White Atkins. In an article about Miss White Atkins cats, published in 'The Country' (c1908), we find the below commentary:

"'The White Knight' is understandably the king of the cats as far as his owner's affections and possessions go, but there are plenty of rivals near his throne, of whom the 'White Butterfly' is not least. Her picture, taken at an early age, no longer does her full justice, but the sweetness of her expression, her short cherubic face, tiny ears and immense coat - which by the way, is of a peculiarly fine hairy texture - are sufficiently evident, only needing the charm of life in the exquisite contrast of deep turquoise eyes and snowy garment. The texture of her coat, is an inheritance from her sire, 'Champion White Friar', who is said to have been an Indian cat, and as such possessed of this characteristic."16

Miss Nora Kerswill's 'Blue-Eyed Edelweiss'
'Ch. White Friar' x 'Ch. Crystal'
Photo: Our Cats Magazine, 19th December (1903)38
Image courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection

'BLUE-EYED EDELWEISS', born June, 1899 and often also referred to as 'Edelweiss of Kensington'

As may be evidenced in the Register of the Independent Cat Fanciers Association of Great Britain, (known as the ICFAGB), where Miss Kerswill registered a number of her cats during the critical period of strife in 1909, between the failing National Cat Club and the establishment of the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy in 1910; we find a registration record, for Miss Kerswill's 'Edelweiss of Kensington' with the date of birth as June, 1899, and her breeder as Miss Hunt. It is also significant to note that a son 'Peter Pan of Kensington' also appears in this register, born 1st April, 1909, indicating that 'Edelweiss' was still breeding proficiently at the age of almost 10 years! Originally registered as 'Blue-Eyed Edelweiss', her new name would have been taken up upon her purchase by Miss Kerswill.

Amongst her noted progeny may be counted 'Una of Kensington' (NCC:3020) born 7th March, 1902, sired by 'White Knight', who was retained by Miss Kerswill. 'Una' was herself bred directly to 'White Friar', producing the blue-eyed white female 'White Blossom of Kensington'(OC: 17/Apr/1902). 'Oberon' (NCC1498A)(CFA:1558v4), also sired by 'White Knight' who was duly exported as a future stud to Miss Ava Pollard, in Elizabeth, New Jersey; 'Immaculata of Kensington' (NCC:5570), sired by 'White Hussar of the Midlands', who in her turn became the dam of 'Sir Launcelot of Kensington' (ACA:834), similarly exported to Miss Ava Pollard; the female 'Edelena of Kensington',(ICFAGB) born 5th April, 1908, sired by 'Addisham Prince Blue Eyes'; and the male 'Peter Pan of Kensington' (ICFAGB) born 1st April, 1909.

'Champion Purity' owned by Miss Ava Pollard (Omar Cattery)
'Ch. White Friar' x 'Ch. Crystal'
Photo: A. Radclyffe Dugmore. Country Life in America, Sept.1908 11
Image courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection

'CH. PURITY', born 16th February 1901. A blue-eyed white female bred by Miss Mary Hunt and originally sold to Mrs. Toothill, (OC:26/April/1902)(BCC:741).

'Purity' was duly exported to the United States, becoming the property of Miss Ava Pollard, of Madison Ave, Elizabeth, New Jersey. She was ultimately the most successful of all the daughters of 'Ch. Crystal', accumulating 47 prizes and numerous trophies. She was also a highly profitable breeding queen, producing amongst others, the yellow eyed male 'Ch. White Monk',(6th April,1903) (ACA:246); his yellow-eyed litter brother 'White Tassell',(ACA:808; 'the odd-eyed white female 'White Deutzia', (4th April, 1904) (ACA:245); and the stunning blue-eyed white female 'Ch. Puritana', (23rd March, 1905)(ACA:292); followed by another blue-eyed white female named 'Purity II', (20th September, 1906)(ACA:333).

Progeny of 'Ch. Purity'.
Left: 'Ch. White Monk' (CEW) and Right: 'Ch. Puritana' (BEW)

Both grand-children of 'Ch. White Friar' and 'Ch. Crystal'
Photos: Stud Book & Register of The Cat Fanciers' Association12
Image courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection

'WHITE FRIAR II', born 16th February 1901. A blue-eyed white male bred by Miss Mary Hunt and originally sold to Mrs. Edwenia Baxter. (Ref.) Litter brother to the above female, 'Purity'. Although we have no image to share of him, we can reference a short notice given about him from Our Cats, accompanied by his first stud advertisement.

"Mrs. Baxter is placing 'White Friar II' at stud in our columns, and wisely chooses this time to bring him before the notice of the public, as his recent win at the Palace is fresh in the minds of all. He has only been shown four times, and three times out of the four has taken first prize. White Friar II resembles his sire in never having sired a coloured kitten. He is litter brother to 'Purity', who made such a sensation in America, and will be not be three years old until February."

Stud advertisement for 'White Friar II' owned by Mrs. Edwenia Baxter.
From Our Cats Magazine, 5th December, 190313
Image courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection

'Snowbelle' owned by Miss White Atkins
'Ch. White Friar' x 'Ch. Crystal'
Photo: The Cat Manual (1902) by Dick Whittington 14
Image courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection

'SNOWBELLE', Blue-eyed white queen. Date of birth unknown. No records can be found for this daughter of 'Ch. White Friar' and 'Ch. Crystal', other than her image and caption, which confirms her parentage and her ownership, as the property of Miss White Atkins, the owner of 'White Knight.' Nor have we yet found any evidence of progeny. Her charming face is very reminiscent of her full sister, Miss White Atkins' 'White Butterfly'.

Other progeny from a pairing of 'Ch. White Friar' and 'Ch. Crystal' for whom we do not currently have images include:

'LADY WHITE', born 17th October, 1899. A blue-eyed white female bred by Miss Mary Hunt and owned by Mr. J.C. Dunkley.(MCCC:1902). However she also appears in the ownership of R. Moffett in the NCC Registrations for Whites published in Our Cats, 26th April, 1902.

'SNOWDROP', born 9th July, 1900. A blue-eyed white male, bred and owned by Miss Mary Hunt, included in NCC Registrations published in Our Cats, 26th April,1902.

'THE JOVIAL MONK', born 9th July, 1900. A blue-eyed white male, bred by Miss Mary Hunt, and owned by Miss Fanny Ward. Litter brother to the above 'Snowdrop'.

'ST. MUNGO', born 9th July, 1900. A blue-eyed white male, bred and owned by Miss Mary Hunt. A litter brother to those immediately above. (OC:08/Dec/1900).

WHITE FRIAR'S PROGENY FROM OTHER QUEENS:

Now we look at the celebrated progeny of 'Ch. White Friar', from queens other than 'Ch.Crystal'!

From Mrs. Champion's 'WHITE WITCH'

  • (in a litter born 25th September, 1898)
    'WHITE TSAR', a blue-eyed white male. (ACA:133). Bred and owned by Mrs. Champion. His dam, 'White Witch'(CCR), by 'Punch' out of 'Stella'.
    Sire of: 'White Tsar II' (BCC:1022), an odd-eyed white male bred by Mrs. Pritchard, and taken by Mrs. Champion, when emigrating to America. 'White Star II', was the sire of 'White Tsarevitch'(M) and 'White Star'(F), both out of 'White Friar's Daughter'.
    Sire of: 'The Welsh King'(ACA:131), a blue-eyed white male, himself the sire of 'Ch. Y Brenin Gwyn of Arrandale'(Imp.UK)

  • (in a litter born 14th April, 1900)
    'KENSINGTON WHITE NYMPH', a blue-eyed white female.(OC:08/Dec/1900)
    One of the last litters bred by the Misses Champion before emigrating to the United States. Owner: Mr. Frank Abbott.

From Miss Kirkpatrick's 'WHITE LILAC'

  • (In a litter born 19th April, 1900)
    'AVRIL', a blue-eyed white neuter, retained by Miss Kirkpatrick. (CCR)

  • (In a litter born 26th June, 1901)
    'WHITE FRIAR JUNIOR',(BCC:432) Odd-Eyed White male, imported in dam into the United States when Miss Kirkpatrick, the owner of his dam 'White Lilac' bred her queen to 'Champion White Friar' and then sent her in kitten to Mrs. Everett Davis, in Chicago.
    His entry in Volume II of the Beresford Cat Club Register clearly states, 'bred in England, born in America'.

'White Friar Jr' owned by Mrs. Everett Davis, Chicago.
'Ch. White Friar' x 'White Lilac'
Photo: Captain Kidd Jr and Sinbad The Sailor (1908) by Caro Senour 15
Image courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection

From Captain Kidd Jr and Sinbad The Sailor by Caro Senour, published in 1908 comes a few short excerpts of historical significance about the origins of 'White Friar Jr':

" 'White Friar Junior' came across the Atlantic Ocean with his lovely mother, 'Madam White Lilac,' in 1901. He has what is known as 'odd' eyes. That is, one eye bright blue while the other is golden in color………This Junior's father was 'Champion White Friar' of England, and he is a beautiful blue-eyed Persian, with perfect hearing, which is not always the case with white, blue-eyed, long-haired cats, for many of them are deaf."15

Then a description is given of 'White Friar Junior's' coat:

"His body-coat measures 5-3/4 inches in the longest places, and this, with his plume, which is something like an ostrich feather, are his chief attractions. This tail-plume measures twelve inches across."15

'White Friar Junior'(USR:94) in his turn, is the sire of both 'White Friar III'(USR: 304), out of 'Little Miss Eiger'(USR:436), and 'Oberon'(King of the Friars)(USR:480), out of 'Cricket'.

From Miss A. Lockhart Robertson's 'CELIA OF HULLERHURST', a copper-eyed white female, born 26th June, 1902. Bred by Mrs. Pettit, sired by 'King of the Pearls' and out of 'Stanstead Lily'.

  • (In a litter born 28th May, 1903)
    'ALISTER OF HULLERHURST', a blue-eyed white male, bred and retained by Miss Lockhart Robertson. (OC:12/Nov/1904)
    'IAN OF HULLERHURST', a blue-eyed white male, bred and owned by Miss A. Lockhart Robertson. (OC:03/Oct/1903)

  • (In a litter born 4th June, 1904)
    'PRESENT FASHION', a blue-eyed white female, bred by Miss A Lockhart Robertson, and owned by Mr. Jas. Reid. (OC:12/Nov/1904)
    'THE ABBOT', a blue-eyed white male, bred and retained by Miss A. Lockhart Robertson.

  • (In a litter born 7th November, 1904)
    'SPINDRIFT', a blue-eyed white female, bred by Miss A Lockhart Robertson and exported to Mrs. Ferguson, of Denver, Colorado. (ACA:399)

'Kuishah' (Imp.), dam of 'Beautiful Spring' by 'Ch. White Friar'
Photo: Mrs. Leslie Williams. The Country (c.1908) 16
Image courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection

From Miss Nora Kerswill's 'KUISHAH'(IMP) (aka 'KINSHAH'). 'Kuishah' was an odd-eyed white with one blue and one green eye. She was imported from the orient, and her name in the native tongue translates as 'the young person'. She was imported and owned by Miss White Atkins, but also bred by Miss Nora Kerswill. Miss Atkins bred her to 'White Knight to produce Mrs. Robinson's 'Zephyrine', who took a championship and two firsts at a Manchester show of the National Cat Club. Miss Kerswill however, bred her to 'Ch. White Friar'.

  • (In a litter born 1st, April, 1903)
    'BEAUTIFUL SPRING', a blue-eyed white female, bred by Miss Nora Kerswill, and sold to Ellen Woodhouse. (OC:20/Jun/1903)

From Mrs. Bryson's 'SNOWFLAKE'

  • (In a litter born 19th March, 1901)
    'BLUE-EYED SIRDAR', a blue-eyed white male, bred by Mrs. Bryson and owned by Miss A. Finnie Young. (OC:07/Feb/1903). 'Blue-Eyed Sirdar' was eventually exported to the United States, to Mrs. W. Eames Colburn of the 'Brushwood' cattery. He became the sire of Miss Emma Austin's 'Sir Friar' (ACA:336), and 'Sir Friar', was in his turn the sire of Mrs. Lillian E. Davidson's 'Columbine White Friar', out of the exceptional dam, 'Ch. Maid of Avenal'.
    'BLUE-EYED PRINCE', a blue-eyed white male, (date of birth unconfirmed) but a full sibling to 'Blue-Eyed Sirdar'.(Appears in ACA v3,pg13), as the sire of 'Rokeles Blue-Eyed Bloke', in the pedigree of 'Sir Launcelot of Kensington'(ACA:834).

'Columbine White Friar', a grandson of 'Blue-Eyed Sirdar' (by 'White Friar')
Photo: Everybody's Cat Book (1909) by Dorothy Bevill Champion17
Image courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection

When 'Blue-Eyed Sirdar' was exported, a small news item appeared in the 3rd October, 1903 issue of Our Cats about the collection of studs at Mrs. Colburn's 'Brushwood' cattery, under the heading 'A Fine American Stud'. It reads:

"Mrs. W.E. Colburn, of Chicago has recently imported 'The Blue-Eyed Sirdar', a son of 'Champion White Friar', bred by Mrs. Bryson of Edinburgh. Miss Frances Simpson's 'Persimmon II', has also recently joined the Brushwood cattery and 'Blue Jacket IV' is soon expected. 'Blackberry Fawe' has been sold, as Mrs. Colburn makes a specialty of stud cats and kennel service. She undoubtedly possesses the largest and finest stud of Persian cats in the United States. 'Paris' and 'Blue-Eyed Sirdar' represent whites; 'Blackthorn' blacks; 'Torrington Red Knight', reds; 'Persimmon II', brown tabbies; 'Lui', chinchillas, and two of the finest blues to be had in England are on the way."27

From Mr. Ernest Smith's 'DUSKY BEAUTY'

  • (In a litter born 9th April, 1899)
    'CHISWICK SNOWFLAKE', (NCC: 3011) a blue-eyed white female, bred by Mr. Ernest Smith, and owned by Mrs. Mills. An apparently typey female, with a mixed color pedigree, Snowflake's dam 'Dusky Beauty' was probably a black smoke, as she was by the Chinchilla 'Lord Argent', a son of 'Silver Lambkin' and out of 'Princess Nicotine'. 'Chiswick Snowflake' gained two first, a Championship and five specials at the Crystal Palace Show of 1899.
    'CHISWICK SNOWBALL', (CCRv4), likely to have been another blue-eyed white female, and probable litter sister to the above 'Snowflake', 'Snowball' was sold to Mr. Minahane. She is listed as the dam of the silver female 'Barnes Starlight', (born 22nd April 1900), bred by Mr. Minahane and owned by Miss Florence Slatter.

Note: The 'Chiswick' cattery name is taken from the suburb of Chiswick in West London, where both Mr. Ernest Smith and Mrs. Florence Champion resided while she remained in England.

From Mrs. S.E.Horman's celebrated orange-eyed blue female, 'NONNA'

  • (In a litter born September, 1900)
    'WHITE FRIAR'S DAUGHTER', (ACA:92) an odd-eyed white female, sold to Mrs. Florence Champion, whom she subsequently imported into the United States with her when she emigrated to New York. Mated to 'White Tsar II) an odd-eyed White grandson of 'White Friar', she produced the orange-eyed white queen 'White Star' (aka Miss Bob White) in 1903, and the blue-eyed white male, 'White Tsarevitch', in 1904.

From Mrs. S.E.Horsman's 'MISS PUSSIE'

  • (In a litter born 30th April, 1900)
    'WHITE ABBESS', a blue-eyed white female, originally sold to Mrs. E.E.Baxter. The 'White Abbess' then appears to have been passed to Mrs. E.G. Rock, who bred her to the 'White Knight' to produce the 'Blue-Eyed Fairy'. This female, who combined the lines of two of the greatest whites in England was subsequently exported to the 'Omar' cattery of Miss Ava Pollard. She is registered as 'Omar Blue-Eyed Fairy'.(BCC:742)

From Mrs. Pettit's 'BEAUTIFUL PEARL'

  • (In a litter born 1st September, 1903)
    'PIQUANTE PEARL II', a blue-eyed white female, retained by Mrs. Pettit. This female was bred back to her dam's half-brother, 'Picturesque Pearl II' to produce 'King of the Pearls III' a blue-eyed white male who was exported to Mr. F.G.Hasselman, of Indianapolis, Indiana. His registration (ACA:375), is clearly notated: 'Deep blue eyes'.

From Mrs. MacKenzie Stewart's 'WHITE NUN'

  • (In a litter born 18th May, 1901)
    'WHITE NUN'S GIRL', a blue-eyed white female, retained by Mrs. MacKenzie Stewart. (CCRv5)
    'NUN'S BOY', a blue-eyed white male, who also appears to have been retained by Mrs. MacKenzie Stewart. (CCRv5).

There are of course, many more, but the above will certainly suffice to show the extent of 'White Friar's' influence on the Persian breed on the American continent in particular, as well as in England. Other exports of grandsons, and great-grandsons provided invaluable line-breeding and outcrossing. Just one such example is 'Sir Launcelot of Kensington' (ACA:834), a blue-eyed white male born 28th March, 1908. He was bred by Miss Nora G. Kerswill in England and exported to Miss Ava Pollard of the Omar Cattery in Elizabeth, New Jersey. His sire was 'Rokeles Blue Eyed Bloke' who through 'Belle Vue Blue Eyed Prince, was himself a grandson of the 'White Friar'. His dam, 'Immaculata of Kensington' was a grand-daughter of 'White Friar' via her dam, 'Edelweiss'; but also brought in outcross lines via her sire, 'White Hussar of the Midlands, a grandson of 'Aurora', a white female imported directly from Thibet.

PHOTOS:

'CHAMPION WHITE FRIAR' (formerly 'Tim of Redgrave)
Photo: Windsor Magazine (1899) 3
Image courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection

'CHAMPION WHITE FRIAR' (formerly 'Tim of Redgrave)
Photo: Strand,Eng.Co. U.S. Register and Stud Book for Cats (1906)26
Image courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection

SOCIAL MEDIA:

'Ch. White Friar' on the cover-page of Our Cats, March 1902. 1
Image courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection

'Champion White Friar' featured on a Birthday Postcard
A Rotary Photo Postcard 18
Courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection.

Another Stud advertisement for Mrs. Edwenia Baxter's 'White Friar II'
A son of 'White Friar' ex 'Crystal'

From Our Cats Magazine, 19th March, 19044
Courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection.

In Summary:

If ever there was a case for how an experienced eye can spot hidden potential and then through hard work, due diligence and care, draw out that potential for the benefit of many, the story of 'Tim of Redgrave' and his transformation into the world-renown 'White Friar', would certainly qualify as one of the prime examples. Through the timely advice of Mr. Fred Gresham, and the agency and energy of Mrs. Florence Champion, the world of the white Persian was given a truly amazing and lasting legacy, that may never have seen the light of day.

Mrs. Champion's excellent decision to leave him in the United Kingdom in the careful stewardship of Miss Hunt and Mrs. Young, upon her emigration to the United States, continued to ensure the flow of his bloodlines in both countries. She certainly demonstrated on many occasions, her ability to make well-considered decisions under pressure, as evidenced by her quick action in acquiring 'Tim of Redgrave', in deciding to leave the 'White Friar' in England, in choosing to take with her to the United States, his odd-eyed Grandson and odd-eyed daughter to re-establish his lines in the United States, whilst also juggling an amazing and influential bevvy of Silvers and Chinchillas, that would, as the 'Argent' cattery, become world famous in its own right.

It would be fair to say, that both she, and her daughters Dorothy Bevill and Ethel R.B. Champion, and their ship's cargo of eleven cats were, together, one of the most influential single 'feline' export packages ever to leave England for the United States!

The key lesson here is that 'potential' is in the eye of the beholder. To have the knowledge and ability to pull out that potential takes dedication, skill and a lot of determined love. 'White Friar' is possibly one of the best examples of just that sort of dedication and skill, one which we can only hope, will continue to be emulated by future generations of cat fanciers.

REFERENCES:

  1. Our Cats Magazine, 15th March 1902
  2. Rabbits, Cats and Cavies, by Charles H. Lane, 1903
  3. Windsor Magazine, 1899
  4. Our Cats Magazine, 19th March, 1904
  5. Dog Shows and Doggy People, by Charles H. Lane, 1902
  6. The Lady's Realm August, 1900
  7. Harmsworth Magazine, 1900
  8. Russian Postcard, 'Crystal' Photo: C. Reid, Wishaw
  9. English Postcard, 'Crystal' Photo: C. Reid, Wishaw
  10. The Book of The Cat, by Frances Simpson, 1903
  11. Country Life in America, September, 1908
  12. Stud Book and Register of The Cat Fanciers' Association, Vol.1
  13. Our Cats Magazine, 5th December, 1903
  14. The Cat Manual, by Dick Whittington, 1902
  15. Captain Kidd Jr and Sinbad The Sailor, by Caro Senour, 1908
  16. The Country Magazine, c.1908
  17. Everybody's Cat Book, by Dorothy Bevill Champion, 1909
  18. A Rotary Photo Birthday Postcard
  19. The National Cat Club Stud Book and Register, Vols 1-5
  20. Our Cats Magazine, 31st October, 1903
  21. Stud Book and Register of The Beresford Cat Club, Vols.1-4
  22. Stud Book of The American Cat Association, Vols 1-3
  23. Our Cats Magazine, November, 1903
  24. Our Cats Magazine, 16th November, 1901
  25. Our Cats Magazine, 17th December, 1904
  26. U.S. Register and Stud Book for Cats, 1906
  27. Our Cats Magazine, 3rd October, 1903
  28. The Cat Club Register, Vols 1-5
  29. Catalogs of the Midland Counties Cat Club, 1902, 1905, 1906
  30. Our Cats Magazine, 8th December, 1900
  31. Our Cats Magazine, 20th April, 1902
  32. Our Cats Magazine, 7th February, 1903
  33. Our Cats Magazine, 28th February, 1903
  34. Our Cats Magazine, 21st March, 1903
  35. Our Cats Magazine, 20th June, 1903
  36. Our Cats Magazine, 22nd August, 1903
  37. Our Cats Magazine, 29th August, 1903
  38. Our Cats Magazine, 19th December, 1903
  39. Our Cats Magazine, 16th July, 1904
  40. Our Cats Magazine, 12th November, 1904
  41. Incorporated Cat Fanciers Association of Great Britain, Registrations 1909
  42. Photos and Quotations as per credits noted

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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