Formal portrait of Michael Johnston

Formal portrait of Michael Johnston, father of Don Johnston, dressed ad Dick Whittington, with pet cat.

‘Dick Whittington and His Cat’ is a folklore from England about Richard Whittington, mayor of London in the 14th Century, who allegedly became a wealthy merchant, despite humble origins, because of his cat’s talent for ratting. Whether the story has an basis in reality is unlikely, as the real life Richard Whittington was neither poor nor a cat owner, but the story has nevertheless been immortalised in puppet and theatrical plays, ballads, operas and pantomimes.

It is possible that Michael Johnston was playing the part of Dick Whittington in a play or a pantomime, though we can’t be sure of this. The photograph was taken between 1910 and 1915, in Dundalk. The cat’s name is unknown.