After Rosa Bonheur had painted horses, cows, and other tame animals a great many times, she began to want to paint wild animals, such as tigers and bears. She could not go to the far-away countries where they live, so she bought a lion and lioness from a man who had been there. These she kept in a very strong cage of heavy iron bars. Here she came to watch them every day.
This is one of the pictures she painted of the lion. She called him “Nero,” and was so kind to him that after a while he became quite tame. The lioness was always wild, but good old Nero soon became so gentle that Rosa Bonheur could pet him and even go into his cage.
Wild Cat shown at the Crystal Palace Cat Show, 1871
Spotted Tabby Half-bred Indian Wild Cat