Gwen John adored her cats, and depicted them frequently. This one, a tortoiseshell named Edgar Quinet, appears in most of her cat drawings, sometimes with her kittens. The name was taken from the address where John lived in 1904 when she first had the cat, 19 boulevard Edgar Quinet in Paris. When Edgar Quinet ran away in 1908, John was devastated. In a letter to a friend, Ursula Tyrwhitt, she wrote, ‘when the cats make love I run to see if my sweet is one of them’. She composed a poem to her loss, ‘Au Chat’, which she sent to Rodin.