Not currently on display at the V&A

Felix

Dress Fabric
1924 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

This dress fabric design, depicting an unusually passive Felix, is highly illustrative of the impact of the ‘Lucky Cat’ on the popular culture of the 20th century. The character was created by Otto Messner and the films produced in the New York studio of Pat Sullivan, but the first items of merchandise appeared, unofficially, in the United Kingdom.

Felix had all the hallmarks of the vaudeville tradition; his comic pantomiming and breaking of the fourth wall gave him a distinct personality. This, coupled with the ‘magical’ possibilities of animation and a prehensile tail, resulted in international fame and Felix’s appearance on over 200 items of merchandise.

His design changed several times, eventually gaining his famous rounder features (which inspired Walt Disney to create Mickey Mouse, among others) around 1926. This example from 1924 shows a fairly typical Felix from the earlier part of the decade.


Object details

Categories
Object type
TitleFelix (manufacturer's title)
Materials and techniques
Printed cotton
Brief description
Dress fabric of printed cotton 'Felix', made by Calico Printers' Association, Great Britain, 1924
Physical description
Dress fabric of printed cotton. With a design of Felix the Cat and a mouse.
Dimensions
  • Width: 218mm
  • Length: 180mm
Credit line
Given by Manchester Design Registry
Object history
Registered File number 1974/3231.
Registration number 196044.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This dress fabric design, depicting an unusually passive Felix, is highly illustrative of the impact of the ‘Lucky Cat’ on the popular culture of the 20th century. The character was created by Otto Messner and the films produced in the New York studio of Pat Sullivan, but the first items of merchandise appeared, unofficially, in the United Kingdom.

Felix had all the hallmarks of the vaudeville tradition; his comic pantomiming and breaking of the fourth wall gave him a distinct personality. This, coupled with the ‘magical’ possibilities of animation and a prehensile tail, resulted in international fame and Felix’s appearance on over 200 items of merchandise.

His design changed several times, eventually gaining his famous rounder features (which inspired Walt Disney to create Mickey Mouse, among others) around 1926. This example from 1924 shows a fairly typical Felix from the earlier part of the decade.
Collection
Accession number
T.225-1987

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Record createdJune 24, 2009
Record URL
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