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The Black Cat

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    United Kingdom (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1945 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Brandt, Rolf, born 1906 - died 1986 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Graphite on white paper

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased through the Julie and Robert Breckman Print Fund

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case I, shelf 128, box B

Rolf Brandt (1906-1986) and his brother Bill (1904-1983) who became famous as a photographer, came to London from Hamburg in the early 1930s. Although trained as an actor Rolf Brandt showed a keen interest in drawing and making collages; while still in Germany he had developed an interest in Dada and Surrealist artists as well some of those trained at the Bauhaus, such as Paul Klee. In London he continued to work as an actor but to also make visual art. His drawings for illustration were first published in the 1940s and he became known for his haunting, surrealistic style and delicate line.

This drawing for a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, was one of a number made for the anthology of weird, romantic, if sometimes horrific stories, published under the title 'Come Not Lucifer', by John Westhouse, in 1945. The peculiar qualities of this image are highly individual while at the same time reflective of the horrors which had just been very much part of many peoples lives during the Second World War.

Physical description

A thin girl or young woman with should length wavy blonde hair, closed eyes standing between - virtually sandwiched between two stone or brick walls, the one in front knocked away unevenly to reveal the girl to as far as her waist. on her head is perched a cat with arched back, raised tail, hair on end and angry/terrified expression with open jaw. From the girl's hairline, trickling over her forehead run droplets of blood, possibly from a wound caused by the cats claws. The paper is thin and may be Japanese, slightly discoloured through age and pasted to a support sheet on the upper margin.

Place of Origin

United Kingdom (made)


ca. 1945 (made)


Brandt, Rolf, born 1906 - died 1986 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Graphite on white paper

Marks and inscriptions

'Poe "The Black Cat"'
Inscribed in pencil on lower left

'illus[tration]... to 133 [sic]'
Inscribed in pencil on the right, illegible

Artist's monogram
Faintly, to lower right

Lined for size with the figure 0.175[m].
On the right margin of the sheet

'"Come Not Lucifer" 6.6 3658 6. 4 219/10 Nick'
Inscribed variously in pencil on the back of the support sheet


Height: 32.4 cm irregular, Width: 21.4 cm irregular, Height: 31.8 cm support sheet, Width: 21.6 cm support sheet

Object history note

Susan Brandt negotiated on behalf on the children of R.A. Brandt for this drawing to be acquired; it was purchased from her brother Nicholas Brandt: Impasse Francois Xavier Fabré 85, Castries (Herault), 34160 France.

'The Black Cat' , a short story by Edgar Allan Poe was included in the Romantic anthology of 'weird' tales 'Come Not Lucifer' edited anonymously but possibly by the publisher, John Westhouse. Published in 1945 with illustrations by R.A. Brandt.

Descriptive line

Drawing by Rolf Brandt ca. 1945, illustration to Poe's 'The Black Cat' in the anthology 'Come Not Lucifer' published by John Westhouse in 1945.


Pencil; Paper



Subjects depicted

Cat; Nightmare; Fear


Drawings; Illustration

Production Type



Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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