This extraordinary cat figure was designed by the famous Louis Wain in the cubist manner, and was made for the London retailer Max Emanuel and Co in 1914. It was one of a series designed by the artist (see Louis Wain Lucky Futurist Mascot Cats, by Cork Marcheschi).
The cat is in the form of a spill vase (or match-holder), and is made from earthenware with on-glaze fired enamel colouring. It is smoking a pipe and winking (perhaps this is from the smoke of the pipe), his head slightly turned. Painted on his torso, along with Louis Wain's signature, are squiggles known as "meow-meow notes".
The printed marks under the cat's feet are, as expected, the "mosanic rifle" mark of the retailer, Made in England, and the registration number 638314.
13.25 cms high, the cat is in excellent condition, with no cracks or restoration. At the front of the cat's chest is a tiny glaze chip (the size of a pinhead). The colouring and firing of each of these models varies slightly, and in this one the head is a slightly grey-blue (some more blue appearing slighly around the ears), the body a fairly vibrant green. The colouring is farily lightly applied in places and around the lip of the match holder, and there is some thinning mainly on the tail. There is also a scratch in the green enamel on one hind leg which is from manufacture, as it is glazed over. There is no crazing, as is sometimes found on models with glaze more thickly applied. At the front of the cat's chest is a tiny glaze chip (the size of a pinhead). To find one of these models in such good condition is rare.