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Surrealist artist's topiary cat goes viral

Wednesday June 1st 2016

Millions of social media users have now seen giant topiary cats created by a surrealist artist.

Richard Saunders' work has gone viral after he created the stunning felines as a tribute to Tolly, his Russian Blue, who passed away recently. He put a digital spin on the traditional technique of topiary, the clipping of trees and shrubs into ornamental shapes, to make the masterpieces.

Mr Saunders digitally altered Tolly's image to replace actual bushes, the BBC reports. One image alone, of the cat drinking water out of a lake in Surrey's Painshill, has attracted 3.25 million viewers on Facebook.

But the 69-year-old artist stresses that the pictures are not real, no matter what others might like to believe to the contrary. Mr Saunders says that around one in four viewers actually think the images are genuine.

He first became inspired by Hall Barn's topiary in Beaconsfield when he noticed how the shape of one ornamental shrub resembled Tolly when she was asleep. The artist stresses that he wants to be seen as an artist, not an illusionist.

Copyright Press Association 2016