Favourite things: A golden new life for a Pharaoh’s cat

We’re continuing to look back at some of the wonderful and odd pieces that the class of 2017/18 came up with.

The Chippendale school is more usually associated with furniture design and making than gilding dead cats, but that’s what Dr Phillip Prager from Luxembourg did when he upcycled a mummified cat into a golden work of art.

Phillip, a former assistant professor of aesthetics at the IT University in Copenhagen and a published expert on the nature of creative thinking, wanted an unusual item on which to hone his gilding skills, and you don’t get more unusual than a dead cat.

It had been bricked up inside a wall of a medieval English house – a common practice to ward off evil spirits – and was only recently discovered.

“The cat obviously lived a tragic life, and I thought it would be nice to give it a bit of afterlife splendour,” says Phillip, who covered the carcass with shellac to give it strength and seal the surface, and then gilded it in 24 carat gold.

The cat, now named Mrs Slocombe, after a character in the TV sit-com, even has her very own velvet cushion to lie on.

“It’s a very fitting gilding project because the ancient Egyptians worshipped cats, and it was also the ancient Egyptians who invented gilding,” said Richard Walker, from Watergild Studios, who teaches gilding at the school.

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