Touching tributes were paid to a popular moggie who served as the “cat in charge” at the Smith Art Gallery and Museum in Stirling.
Oswald Clingan-Smith was a 17 year old cat who came to the Smith as a kitten and was well known to visitors and tourists from all over the world.
He specializes in dating, tours and site safety and when the Public Catalog Foundation came to register all of Smith’s paintings for the national record in 2011, he was declared the public chat. When in 2016 the PCF changed its name to Art UK, it was the public chat chosen to present the new name and website to the public.
Over the years, thousands of visitors to the Smith have taken selfies with Oswald.
The Smith broke the news of his death on his Facebook page last week.
They said: “We are so sad to announce that Oswald passed away peacefully and naturally today.
“When the first foreclosure happened, Oswald retired to a beautiful new home in Glasgow where he had a wonderful life. He passed away in the arms of his new staff this morning and our thoughts are with them at this time.
“It was a pleasure to serve under you Oswald, you were loved so much, by so much.
“Rest in peace little man. “
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Caroline Mathers, Director of The Smith, added: “He was loved by everyone who met him and had fans all over the world. He was a true gentleman and will be missed by so many people.
In January 2015, Oswald rose to fame after appearing on television. Its international breakthrough came in August 2014 when wildlife photographer Mitsuaki Iwago visited the museum with a production team as part of his World ‘Cats’ travel diary for Japanese television.
Oswald’s fame spread and soon after the Japanese team was formed, a Russian production company contacted the museum to arrange an “interview” between Oswald and actor Viktor Loginov for an episode of the Russia 1 Cat Planet series.
In May 2017, Poet in Residence at The Smith, John Coutts teamed up with Oswald to write “Oswald the Cat’s Book of Poems for Fun and Discovery”.
Tributes have poured in to Oswald online.
Linda Carmignani said, “Oh, Oswald. I will miss him so much. He was always happy to have hugs and he greeted me every time I passed. He was so loved.
Michael McGinnes added: “My 15 year old boyfriend is gone. Constant companion in my office. Defender of the museum. Liked by people around the world. Goodbye boyfriend.
Liz Kordula added, “He was such a character. So much loved and will be missed. I loved seeing him inspect us, the visitors to the Smith, just to see if we were okay, then find a sunny spot to fall asleep. Rest well, you were one of a kind.
April-Louise Russell posted: “Run Free on Rainbow Bridge Oswald. You were truly unique and made so many people happy when you came to meet them at the museum. Your legend will live on.