'May Belfort', 1895

Colour lithograph

Poster with image of a woman in red holding a cat

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901), 'May Belfort', 1895. Colour lithograph in red, olive green and yellow ink. © The Trustees of the British Museum.

The Irish singer May Belfort worked in London music halls before arriving in Paris in January 1895. Her slightly disturbing and thinly-veiled erotic act was performed wearing the dress of a little girl with large puffed sleeves and an enormous bonnet. Often she clutched a cat which referred to her most famous song, 'Daddy wouldn't buy me a bow-wow'.

One of Lautrec's most striking prints, this image of May Belfort was also used (with added lettering) for her show at the 'Petit Casino' in Paris. She had specifically asked Lautrec to make a poster for her performance.