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Nestlé UK Archives Search For Missing Painting

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Kit Cat painting

To celebrate National Chocolate Week and the 80th Anniversary of the KitKat, Nestlé UK Archives has released evidence showing that the world famous chocolate bar was named after a Londoner called Christopher. Further investigation has uncovered that there is only one alleged painting in existence of this man, and its location is currently unknown.

Nestlé UK are appealing to the public to check their attics in case they are unwitting owners of an important piece of British history.

KitKats were originally launched in 1935 by Rowntree’s of York. Rowntree’s association with the name goes back even further; the name was registered by them in 1911, and used on a box of chocolates in the 1920s. The pre-war image on the box of chocolates shows a cartoon imagining of the famous 17th century pie maker Christopher (Kit) Catling, his London pie shop, and a reference to the Kit Cat Club which was named after him.

Nestlé UK Archivist Alex Hutchinson said:

“This is the first time that we’ve released clear evidence showing that Rowntree’s knew about the club and its cook and wanted to celebrate all of that in their products. It would be fascinating to see what this man looked like if we could track down a painting of him.”

Historian and Kit Cat Club biographer Ophelia Field found evidence of the alleged Catling painting while researching her book about the club. At just 30.5 x 25.5 inches, the painting is slightly smaller than those of the Kit Cat Club members, which are part of the collection of the National Portrait Gallery.

The portrait shows a man with a handkerchief on his head and a glass of wine in his left hand. The portrait was last seen as part of the 1867 Kensington Portrait Exhibition and was in the possession of Mrs H. W. Hutton.


For further information please contact the Nestlé Press Office on 0208 667 6005 or e-mail [email protected]

Editor’s notes:

• YouTube – KitKat: breaking down your favourite break
• The launch of the Cocoa Plan, Nestlé’s way of supporting cocoa farmers, their families and communities led to the introduction of Fairtrade certified four-finger KitKat and two-finger KitKat, a significant moment in the brand’s history. Learn more about the Nestlé Cocoa Plan
• In 2013 KitKat partnered with Google to launch Android KitKat and earlier this year launched a joint “YouTube my break” campaign
•  Historical KitKat images from our archive