Tolly the Topiary Cat has given Facebook a botanical infusion -- and taken social media by storm, garnering millions of views! Instead of fur, the Russian Blue cat dons a coat of greenery and plants himself in serene landscapes and gardens across the English countryside. The series of photo illustrations is the brainchild of artist Richard Saunders, who honors his late beloved pet with the beautiful digitally-altered topiary scenes.
Set in some of the quaintest gardens in the English countryside, the sleeping Tolly is transformed into a furry topiary, a recognizable element in British gardening which often features leafy bushes trimmed into animals and geometric shapes. Using photos of Tolly taken during his long life, Saunders playfully creates fantastical gardens, enhancing the already gorgeous historic scenes of British country mansions and cottages with the adorable Topiary Cat.
In Saunders’ images, a sleeping topiary Tolly nestles a glittering lake, laps water from an idyllic stream, zonks out on a beach and poses next to historic brick walls. To Saunders’ surprise, the images of Topiary Tolly have gone completely viral, one getting a whopping 325 million views on Facebook. In some cases, Saunders had to explain that the images were not actually real, but were in fact his expert digital renderings.
The public response to Saunders’ Topiary Cat series has given his beloved pet Tolly, who sadly passed away in February, a truly artistic homage to honor his life.
Images © Richard Saunders