26th
September
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In Memoriam

Written by: Sembat

greggys-tributeGregory I

(Ballantyne Kibar Refik)
Born: 18 February 1989
Died: 11 November 1992

Sarkis

(Ballantyne Kehlibar Yildaz)
Born: 18 February 1989
Died: 18 April 2006

Gregory II

(Cadiella Hossihir)
Born: 6 June 1992
Died: 9 May 2011


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26th
September
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Painting the cats

Written by: Sembat

Gregory I and Sarkis were first painted in 1989 by Vanessa Tinker, ARCA, looking out of an upstairs window above the front door. As this was a ‘blind’ window overlooking the front entrance porch, it serves as a reminder that this is a feline residence. It has led some passers by to refer to it as the Cats’ House, which seems an appropriate designation.

Later they were immortalised on parchment by the late distinguished heraldic artist, John William Bainbridge (1940-1996), who in 1991 included them in the Grant of Arms issued by the College of Arms in London.

Gregory II was included in a group portrait of the household at Charlton painted by the talented young artist, Philip Stephen Huxley in 2009. By fixing the viewer with his steady gaze, he provides the link between the portrait and those who view it.

'blind' window image Grant of Arms

21st
September
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How Van Cats came to Charlton

Written by: Sembat

vancats0001My interest in Van cats goes back to 1965 when I read an article on “The Swimming Cats of Van” by Laura Lushington in Animals magazine. From childhood I grew up with cats at home but my particular interest in this breed was their connection with Van. Although Van is now in Turkey it was part of the historic heartland of the Armenians and during the 10th & 11th centuries was an independent principality of Vaspurakan under the Artsruni dynasty, with its capital on the island of Aghtamar. The Armenian presence was significant here until the Genocide of 1915. My particular interest was that I am an Orthodox Christian and the Armenians were not only the first Christian nation but had valiantly maintained the Orthodox faith throughout the centuries despite having lost their nationhood.

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