Kaspar is a three foot tall, beautifully carved, exquisitely drawn sculpture of a cat, commissioned from Basil Ionides in 1926 from a single piece of plane tree. For many however, their first glimpse of the elusive feline, is on the Strand where two topiary Kaspars guard the entrance to Savoy Court and The Savoy London.
For any dining group of 13 at The Savoy, Kaspar will be that lucky extra companion, sitting quietly in the background with a napkin tied around his neck, served each course as a bona fide guest. Why, you might ask, is there a need for this cure-all for a superstition? Well in 1898, the diamond magnate Woolf Joel gave a dinner party at The Savoy before he departed to South Africa. One guest cancelled at the last minute and thirteen sat down to table. The host laughed off the superstition that the earliest to leave the table would be destined to die first. A few weeks later, however, Woolf was shot dead in his office in Johannesburg.
From that moment on, a group size of thirteen has always had a hotel staff member join them to make up the numbers – firstly in human form but from 1926, this quiet feline – very much the strong silent type – took that place to ensure complete privacy.
On 2nd May 2013, Kaspar’s Seafood Bar & Grill opened in the former space of The River Restaurant overlooking the Thames. Decorated in a sumptuous 1930’s theme, this will be the first time in his career that he takes centre stage – recognition of this marvellous little piece of history and his due importance to The Savoy.
To celebrate Kaspar’s re-emergence to the social scene a new sculpture by Jonty Hurwitz was commissioned as part of The Savoy’s contemporary art programme. Jonty used 3D printing to create this anamorphic sculpture which reveals an intricate vision of Kaspar.
Contributor: Sue Lowry
The Savoy London is managed by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts which is a client of Magellan PR. For more information, please visit http://www.fairmont.com, follow them on twitter @FairmontHotels or on Facebook/Fairmont Hotels. Their community website is www.everyonesanoriginal.com. Follow The Savoy London on twitter @TheSavoyLondon and on Facebook/The Savoy.
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