Cinderella – Told by Githa Sowerby – Illustrated by Millicent Sowerby – c1915
Everyone knows the story of Cinderella. The story, in one form or another, has been around for centuries and is the ultimate fairy tale. Who hasn’t, at one time or another, dreamed of being saved from their drab, dull or destitute life by a handsome Prince (or Princess) and whisked off to live in a palace?
Cinder’s name varies throughout Europe, all be it with a decidedly ‘ashy’ flavour; the Italian Cenerentola, the German Aschenputtel and the French Cendrillon (or, best of all, La petite Pantoufle de Verre. Isn’t that awesome? I’m wearing my furry pantoufles right now).
The early written stories varied too. Perrault added the pumpkin and Fairy Godmother. The aptly named Brothers Grimm added their own grisly twists – toes chopped off to enable feet to fit tiny slippers, eyeballs pecked out to punish the evil step-sisters, sleep well kiddies!
Githa Sowerby’s version of Cinderella is very close to Perrault’s, with pumpkin coach and glass slipper, Cinderella and her Prince marrying amid great rejoicing and living happily ever after. She is less forgiving of the Ugly Sisters, who are taught a lesson and turned away from the royal wedding. Thankfully their toes and eyeballs remain intact.
Githa’s book was one of many collaborations with her sister Millicent. This was the first book illustrated by Millicent Sowerby in my collection and I managed to pick it up cheaply as it’s a rather ‘well read’ copy. The front endpapers and copyright page are missing, some pages are loose and one of the prints has a tear. BUT it is an early copy with all twelve illustrations safely nestled within their guilt frames.
Millicent’s artwork is big and beautiful, befitting of this famous tale of magic. The illustrations, though a bit faded, have little of the yellowing old prints acquire and the colours, when corrected, are gorgeous – deep blues and purples for the night sky, pretty pastels for the ladies, the white silk of Cinderella’s ball gown.
The pictures below are the originals. Unfortunately, the gold frames appear brown after scanning.
The restored versions are available on cards, postcards, posters and a few jigsaws and notebooks. Please click below to take a look. Thanks for visiting!
The Four Gardens Illustrated by Charles Robinson
I love Charles Robinson’s art; his chubby pen and ink children and wonderful watercolours. His style and amazing use of colour are instantly recognisable. For me, he could do no wrong.
I particularly love Robinson’s illustrations of flowers and gardens and when a very resonably priced copy of The Four Gardens by Emily ‘Handasyde’ Buchanan came up on Ebay, I grabbed it.
The November 1912 edition of The Spectator contains a very kind review of the book itself;
“There is a wholesome fragrance about these garden sketches that is very pleasant. Each of the four has a character of its own, but each leads us naturally to the next, as do the colours in a well-planned garden.”
They could almost be talking about the illustrations, I think. I read on, expecting a glowing and flowery 1912 description of Robinsons art…
“We have nothing but good to say of the little black-and-white illustrations, but the coloured ones are sad examples of their process. What could be less like the clear red of a strawberry for instance, than those in the picture opposite page 124?”
“But they’re Charles Robinson strawberries!” I complain to the cat, who doesn’t seem to care. I realise, with surprise, that even an illustrator from such an artistically talented family (father Thomas, brothers William and Thomas Jr.) had to satisfy the critics of the time.
This critic though, was clearly an idiot.
Here are those strawberries along with my favourite illustrations from the book.
Please click below for cards, postcards and posters featuring illustrations by Charles Robinson. Thanks for visiting!
I Bought a Book – Part 1
“You BOUGHT a book? Aren’t you supposed to be selling the things?”
My son tuts and leaves me to excitedly open the package. He has a point. Despite our desperate need for space due to piles/boxes/cases of books, I have not been able to resist the urge to grab a bargain.
I’ve always loved Anne Anderson and the soft, flowing, art nouveau style of her watercolours – the Grimm and Andersen fairy tale art being the most famous – but have been unaware of this series of 8 books, published by Nelson in the early 1900’s, each edition containing twelve full page colour illustrations of gorgeousness.
The new addition to my Golden Age collection is The Gillyflower Garden Book. The pictures are wonderful, each showing happy, rosy-cheeked children enjoying various gardening jobs (ha, I must put this on the ‘fantasy’ shelf!) performed throughout the year.
Here they are! Please click on the pics for bigger versions and enjoy.
To find these illustrations and more beautiful art by Anne Anderson on high quality prints, cards, postcards and more, please click below. Thanks for visiting 🙂