The Back Story of Humphry and Marcia

A while back, wandering around Bloomsbury on a sunny afternoon, I came across this sculpture in a children’s playground.

Humphry the Cat

The plinth gave the cat’s name as Humphry, and the artist as Marcia Debra Solway. I looked about wondering if there was more information about why he was there, took a couple more photos, and made a mental note to look into it later.

Today, I found the answer. It was on Flick’r with some photos of the sculpture.

“MARCIA SOLWAY was my daughter, she made this sculpture of HUMPHRY. He was the resident cat for 18 years at the Mary Ward Centre in Queen Square WCI, where Marcia was a student of Sculpture. HUMPHRY was a ginger Tom, this area would of been his “hunting ground”. He was a champion mouser!
HUMPHRY was named after the founder of the Mary Ward Centre. The cat was cared for by RICHARD, who would feed him even when the centre was closed. When Richard died a wreath of flowers was placed around HUMPHRY’S neck, because Richard and Humphry were “best friends”.
Humphry was originally unveiled in Queen Square Garden WCI, but was resited into the children’s playground Old Gloucester St. WCI where he is much happier! The children love him, even drawing on him giving him “eyes and whiskers”. The playground is used by local children and children from Great Ormond St. hospital which is just around the corner.
MARCIA suffered with EPILEPSY and was a patient of the National Hospital Queen Square, she died aged 34 years August 1992, the same year as HUMPHRY. MARCIA lived in Rosebery Ave ECI, she was an ardent cat lover.”

What a sweet and sad tale.

Oh His Paws and Whiskers

I am very glad I finally got around to seeing if I could find out about him.

Now I should like to know about this bit of graffiti that is just across the road from the playground. Given what I have just learned, it would be nice if it represented someone’s lightbulb moment.

Light Bulb Graffiti

21 thoughts on “The Back Story of Humphry and Marcia

  1. Good work, I have similarly been searching for the origin of one on my recent Manchester pictures which contains a (street art) mosaic of a man. I’ve found a few mentions on the internet but it seems that no-one knows who it is supposed to be!

    • Thanks. It’s weird isn’t it. I am trying to find out about another bit of public art, quite recent, and like you, getting nowhere. You would think in these paper trail obsessed times there would be more information available. BTW still not getting notifications when you post. I shall try again.

      • Are you still โ€œsubscribedโ€ as beyond that I have no suggestion? I have ascertained that my artwork thought was right: Itโ€™s street art and therefore it just appeared! No paperwork or council involvement, nor permission!

  2. A really sweet sculpture and story……..somehow I believe Humpry truly is happy that he’s in the midst of a childrens playground…he looks like a great “friend” for the kids.

    Pam (and Sam)

  3. Were you not aware of Marcia’s sculpture prior to her passing away? You mentioned that she was your daughter and was only 34 years old, when she passed away. That is so sad. I extend to you my deepest condolences, if I’ve not misread your post. I could not begin to fathom the pain of losing a child. May both, Marcia and Humphrey RIP.

    • Not my daughter, Orples. I saw the sculpture, but only found the back story today. I have copied Marcia’s mother’s words in inverted commas. Hope that makes things clearer. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • I missed the commas, thus was (obviously) a bit confused. Still, my heart goes out to any parent that loses their child. How incredibly sad. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ . At least the young lady’s memory will live on through her work. Thanks for setting me straight there. ๐Ÿ™‚

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