ZEUS OF THORPE (1903)
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Ch. Zeus of Thorpe, was a splendid show specimen, dramatic and imposing in appearance, but a clear step up on his notable sire, who had already made his own successful mark on the Show bench. Of all the sons of 'Orange Blossom of Thorpe', Zeus was the cat which turned heads.
The 'Thorpe' Cattery of Mrs. Slingsby was, unequivocally, one of the most influential in the ongoing early development and success of the Blue Persian. Mrs. Slingsby's singular devotion to improving both the type and the standard of the Blue is clear, and it is not unusual to find many an 'of Thorpe' affix attached to the names of one or indeed multiple forebears in almost any Blue Persian pedigree of significance after the turn of the 19th/20th century.
Many a fine stud male from this stable of cats has been both the foundation of another cattery, and the bloodline or combination of cats, the basis upon which successive line-breeding has been done, to emulate both the lead and successes of Mrs. Slingsby. In many ways, her efforts to set the standard for Blue Persians and to continue raising the bar as she reached one goal after another, have contributed hugely to the long term development and improvement of the breed, to a point where a clear consistency of quality was more easily reached. It is doubtful, whether a finer tribute can be paid to any breeder, than to see and observe this both in physical fact, and historically.
'Ch.Zeus of Thorpe' was born on 7th August 1903. Sired by 'Ch. Orange Blossom of Thorpe' (1901), his dam being Mrs. Edmondson's blue female 'Beattie'. He then appears to have transferred ownership to the stud owner, Mrs. Slingsby, perhaps in lieu of the breeding. But it equally possible that Mrs. Slingsby was looking to retain another son of 'Orange Blossom' from an outcross female line. Certainly Zeus must have created impression, as the breeder, Mrs. Edmondson, appears to have repeated the breeding the following year, producing another blue male, who was sold to Mrs. Bennet. This full younger sibling was 'Rokeles Bertrand', born 1st August 1904.5
Darius, ACA 49, Blue Eng CH Orange Blossom of Thorpe, Blue | Daisy Nita of Thorpe, ACA 116, Blue Zeus of Thorpe, NCC 1833, Aug-7-1903, Blue M | Blue Boy II, NCC 3045 Beattie Unknown
His one full younger sibling, as stated above was 'Rokeles Bertrand' owned by Mrs Bennet, who was shown for a 3rd, at the N.C.C. show in 1905.5
Due to the popularity of his sire, Zeus had a number of half siblings out of a variety of queens, the most noteworthy being 'CH. NEILA BILLI OF THORPE', out of 'Barrymore Periwinkle. Both he and 'Neila Billi' would ultimately be the best known of the 'Orange Blossom of Thorpe' sons, 'Zeus' as a show cat of obvious quality ,and 'Neila Billi' based on his pedigree and his ability and reputation to reproduce progeny that were even better than himself.
Other sire-siblings include:
Wins at Shows by 'Zeus' himself, include: 1st, N.C.C, 1904; 1st, Sandy, 1904; 1st, N.C.C. Botanic, 1904; 1st, Harrogate. 1904.5
When bred to the blue queen 'Magic of Thorpe', who carried the lines of 'Ch. Wooloomooloo', the original 'Blue Boy'(ex Hunchy Bunchy) and 'Goliath', this produced the lovely 'Queen Mab of Thorpe'. She in turn, when bred to the son of Zeus's half-brother, 'Ch. Neila Billi of Thorpe', namely 'Ch. Bluecap of Thorpe', produced the outstanding 'Ch. Blue Lightning of Thorpe'. Thus the two dynastic lines, both descended from Orange Blossom of Thorpe, through his two sons, 'Zeus' and 'Neila Billi', were reunited through their progeny 'Mab' and 'Bluecap of Thorpe'.
In 1925, Cowans produced a set of collectable Trading Cards, based upon Noted Cats. For the images of the cats, they referenced well-known books of the period from both sides of the Atlantic, showing both famous English and American show winners of the past. In this case, they have based their artwork on the photo of Blue Persian, Champion Zeus of Thorpe, as he appeared in the book plate from Frances Simpson's 'Cats for Pleasure and Profit' (1909 edition), shown above. Note: that on all the cards in this particular series, the cattery name of 'Thorpe' has been misspelled as 'Thrope'!
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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