Claire M. Wain was born in 1868 in Marylebone, London. The names of her parents are William Mathew Wain and Julie Felicie Boiteux. She has one brother and four sisters. She and her sisters never got married to anyone throughout their lifetime. Unfortunately, she passed away on May 20, 1945, in London. She was around 76 or 77 years old at the time of her death.

Her Brother, Louis William Wain

Louis William Wain, an English artist who lived from 5 August 1860 to 4 July 1939, is well known for his illustrations of anthropomorphized large-eyed cats and kittens. He battled mental illness during the later parts of his life and was confined to psychiatric hospitals.

Wain was born in Clerkenwell, London, on August 5, 1860. His mother, Julie Felicite Boiteux (1833-1910), was French, and his father, William Matthew Wain (1825-1880), was a textile trader and embroiderer. He was the oldest of six kids and the only boy. Caroline E. M. (1862-1917), Josephine F. M. (1864-1939), Marie L. (1867-1913), Claire M. (1868-1945), and Felicie J. (1871-1940) were his five sisters, and none of them ever got married. His sister Marie was pronounced mad at the age of 34. She entered an asylum in 1901, where she passed away in 1913. For the length of their mother’s life, the remaining sisters resided with her.

Wain’s parents were advised by a doctor not to enroll him in school or start teaching him until he was ten because of his cleft lip at birth. He frequently skipped school as a child and spent a lot of his childhood travelling around London. He later completed his studies at the West London School of Art and briefly worked as a teacher there. After his father passed away in 1880, he was left at the age of 20 to care for his mother and his five sisters. When his debut illustration, Bullfinches on Laurel Bushes, was published in the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News in 1881, he left home and obtained a furnished room.

Note that Wain was not the only one in his family to suffer from a mental illness. When Wain’s sisters were unable to handle his erratic and occasionally violent behavior, they put him in a pauper ward at the Springfield Mental Hospital in Tooting in 1924. A year after Wain was taken there, his situation became widely known, prompting appeals from people like H. G. Wells and the personal involvement of Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin.

Wain was sent to the Bethlem Royal Hospital in Southwark, and then again in 1930, to the Napsbury Hospital in Hertfordshire, north of London, close to St. Albans. He spent his latter years in peace at Napsbury, a quite beautiful hospital with a garden and a cat colony. His wild mood swings decreased as his delusion increased, and he continued to enjoy drawing. Bright colors, flowers, and complex, abstract patterns are characteristics of his work from this time period, even though his main subject – cats – remained the same.

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