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Friday, 3 March 2017

Mona and her beloved cat

This week's prompt photograph shows a girl, a dog and a lady who could perhaps be her mother or her grandmother.

We've had pets as a topic previously and I posted the photo below then, but I feel it's worthwhile showing it again because it is a good match, despite the animal being a cat rather than a dog and there being no lady with the girl in my photograph, who is my grandmother Mona Forbes. She was 9 years old so the photograph must have been taken around 1906. It's the only photograph I have of her as a child. Mona was in her mid-fifties by the time I was born, and I did not know her very well because we left the country when I was 3 and she died before I was 20. I really wish Mona's mother Jane Isabella had been standing there with her as in the prompt photograph, as I have very few photographs of her either, and none of her as a young woman.

I mentioned in my post last week that Mona attended the School of Art in Christchurch New Zealand but did not include any of examples of her work, so linking back to that theme, here is a photo of a drawing Mona did whilst a student at the school in 1913.

 It would be nice to think that the subject might have been Mona's older brother John Middleton Forbes, aka Jack, in contemplative mode, before he embarked for service with the Royal Engineers Unit of the NZ Expeditionary Force in 1914, but I cannot be sure of that. It may simply have been a drawing from a life model posing at the art school. I've found a couple of photographs on the Christchurch City Libraries web site, showing art classes taking place at the school in 1910, just a few years before Mona studied there. The class looks to be quite crowded, and according to the web site the school had an enrolment of some 400 students.

Mona did not continue with her art because following her marriage to John Morrison in 1921 she became very busy looking after their six children, but son Graeme inherited Mona's artistic talent and went on to become a commercial artist. It was also Graeme who was responsible for bringing home various stray animals that the family adopted as pets, even including an ex-racehorse at one stage, which famously broke free and headed straight for familiar ground at the nearby Addington racecourse.

For more blogs on various topics that possibly include children, pets, ladies, fancy hats and perhaps even fences, visit Sepia Saturday #357