book art

Cinderella - Told by Githa Sowerby - Illustrated by Millicent Sowerby - 1915

Cinderella – Githa and Millicent Sowerby

 

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.Cinderella - Told by Githa Sowerby - Illustrated by Millicent Sowerby - 1915

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.

Her unkind sisters called her Cinderella by Millicent Sowerby

 

They looked in the glass turning this way and that by Millicent Sowerby

 

Cinderella saw that she was really a very handsome old lady by Millicent Sowerby

 

Her godmother touched the pumpkin with her shining wand by Millicent Sowerby

 

Down the palace steps she ran by Millicent Sowerby

 

He spent the whole morning in thinking of Cinderella by Millicent Sowerby

 

Mothers brought their Daughters to the Palace by Millicent Sowerby

 

It was seen how small and pretty her foot was by Millicent Sowerby

 

You can imagine how happy he was to see Cinderella again by Millicent Sowerby

 

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!

Millicent Sowerby cards, postcards and posters

Great Auk Summer and Winter plumage by John Gerrard Keulemans

Great Auk Summer and Winter plumage by John Gerrard Keulemans from Wikipedia

 

The Return of the Great Auk

This month scientists announced that it may be possible to use DNA to reintroduce the Great Auk, a bird extinct since the middle of the 19th Century.

The Great Auk was great indeed, standing at over 30 inches.  Get a tape measure.  That is a big bird!

When not making baby Auks, these birds would hunt the North Atlantic, weaving gracefully through the water. Unfortunately, on the ground they shared the same failings as the Dodo; they couldn’t fly, they couldn’t run very fast and they were damned tasty.

The Great Auk is no more.

The last pair were killed in 1844 on an island near Iceland but a reliable sighting was reported in 1952 of a single bird off Newfoundland.  Great Auks mated for life, and the thought of a solitary bird is especially sad.

I recently finished a set of Warwick Goble illustrations from Charles Kingsley’s ‘The Water-Babies – A Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby’.  Mr Goble’s illustration below must undoubtedly be based on the last Great Auk, his ‘last Gairfowl’ sitting on the ‘Allalonestone’, all alone.

There he saw the last of the Gairfowl original by Warwick Goble

There he saw the last of the Gairfowl original by Warwick Goble

 

The announcement then is amazing news; the word ‘extinct’ may no longer mean ‘gone for ever’.  That these impressive birds might be living and breeding again in the Farne Islands, (off the coast of Northumberland, England) towering over the Puffins and Razorbills that nest there, is incredibly exciting.

Alca impennis by John Gerrard Keulemans

Alca impennis by John Gerrard Keulemans

 

Pinguinus impennus by John James Audubon

Pinguinus impennus by John James Audubon

 

Great Auk original watercolour by Edward Lear

Great Auk original watercolour by Edward Lear

 

Please click on the cards below to see my Great Auk and Gairfowl products. Thanks for visiting!

The Last Gairfowl by Warwick GobleGreat Auk by Edward Lear

W. H. Trood cards, postcards and posters

The Guardian by William Henry Hamilton Trood, 1886

 

National Dog Day

They say every dog has its day, and that day is today!  The 26th of August is National Dog Day.  No better time to unleash (geddit) my ‘Man’s Best Friend’ collection on Zazzle.

First, a little history.

I am a cat person, but my family have always owned dogs (as opposed to my cats owning me), and just as fifty percent of my photo files are made up of cats being cute or clever, their sideboards and mantles display photos of dogs past and present.  But before we were able to photograph or video our beloved pets for prosperity (or Youtube), proud dog owners would call upon the services of an artist.

These dog portraits were originally commissioned by the aristocracy and mostly depicted hunting scenes or the lady of the house with her lap dog, painted by the likes of George Stubbs and Sir Edwin Landseer.  In Victorian times, the new ‘middle class’ – a result of the industrial age – could now afford to own and breed their own dogs.  The founding of the Kennel Club and their first regulated dog show at Crystal Palace in 1873, (the American Kennel Club following in 1884) sparked an interest in a wider variety of dog breeds and huge enthusiasm to show them off.

Victorian artists took advantage of an increased demand for doggie portraits, a trend encouraged by Queen Victoria herself.

Sharp - one of Queen Victoria's favourite Collies - by Charles Burton Barber

Sharp – one of Queen Victoria’s favourite Collies – by Charles Burton Barber

 

I’ve put together a collection of some of the best work produced during this prolific era. The paintings below are a selection from British artists.

 

A Naughty Black Pug by John Emms

A Naughty Black Pug by John Emms

 

Ch. Lola 'Bodo' by Reuben Ward Binks

Ch. Lola ‘Bodo’ – German Shepherd – by Reuben Ward Binks

 

Cocker Spaniel in a Highland Landscape by Lilian Cheviot

Cocker Spaniel in a Highland Landscape by Lilian Cheviot

 

My Lady's Pets by Arthur Wardle, 1904

My Lady’s Pets by Arthur Wardle, 1904

 

At Their Master's Call by Thomas Blinks

At Their Master’s Call by Thomas Blinks

 

Two Greyhounds and a Mastif Belonging to the Duke of Hamilton by Sawrey Gilpin

Two Greyhounds and a Mastif Belonging to the Duke of Hamilton by Sawrey Gilpin, 1780

 

Jack Tar and Another Bulldog by Wright Barker, 1895.

Jack Tar and Another Bulldog by Wright Barker, 1895

 

Sweet Slumber by William Henry Hamilton Trood, 1884.

Sweet Slumber (detail) by William Henry Hamilton Trood, 1884

 

English Setters by Thomas Blinks

English Setters by Thomas Blinks

 

Please click on the pic below to see my cards, postcards and posters featuring beautiful illustrations and paintings of dogs by some of the best animal artists of the 19th and 20th Century.  I’ll be adding more all the time so please keep checking in. Happy Dog Day!

Dog art cards, postcards and posters.

 

Anne Anderson

 

OK, I’m over it.

For the past few months I have been sulking. Zazzle decided to change product creation without informing their sellers and we wasted a considerable amount of time contacting customer support and filling in requests for ‘further information’ and in the end, they could have just told us that things had changed. Thanks for that, Zazzle.

Anyhoo, as a result I have resized and remade the posters with a white border. Annoyingly, I really like them, and the fact that they are all the same height which means you can display them side-by-side as I always wanted. So, Zazzle, I forgive you.

Millicent Sowerby - Cinderella

 

 

 

 

 

In my excitement, I’ve made a lot of new stuff and have just scanned my newest book acquisitions which means there’s even more coming!

Please click on the Jolly Roger below for new Millicent Sowerby (Cinderella), Jessie Willcox Smith (improved Little Women), Alice B. Woodward (Peter Pan), E. J. Detmold (Baby Animals), wonderful Anne Anderson baby illustrations and (yey!) Hummingbirds.

Alice B. Woodward - Peter Pan

Charles Robinson prints, posters, cards, notebooks, postcards and more.

 

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.

Charles Robinson prints, posters, cards, notebooks, postcards and more.

Here are those strawberries along with my favourite illustrations from the book.

Charles Robinson prints, posters, cards, notebooks, postcards and more.

The Rich Man’s Garden. ‘Large earthenware pots in which white madonna lilies grew were set all along the terrace at intervals.’

 

Charles Robinson prints, posters, cards, notebooks, postcards and more.

The Haunted Garden. ‘It was then she saw the ghost, a figure dressed in grey, bending over the flower-beds just below the haunted wall.’

 

Charles Robinson prints, posters, cards, notebooks, postcards and more.

The Sundial

 

Charles Robinson prints, posters, cards, notebooks, postcards and more.

The Old-Fashioned Garden. ‘Roses, after all, were the beginning and end of Lady Mary’s garden.’

 

Charles Robinson prints, posters, cards, notebooks, postcards and more.

The Rich Man’s Garden. ‘He was in mourning now, and nothing but purple flowers must henceforth grow in the garden.’

Please click below for cards, postcards and posters featuring illustrations by Charles Robinson. Thanks for visiting!

charles robinson zazzle products

 

 

 

Kay Nielsen prints, posters, cards and more

 

The Polar Bear in Art

Considering the great respect and spiritual attachment the polar bear has,  I would expect it to be featured more often in Golden Age illustration.

The great white bear has been the subject of folk tales and legends told for centuries by the Inuits and other indigenous people of the Arctic. Their stories are of polar bears teaching men to hunt, a cub adopted by a childless woman and the terrifying Nanurluk, a bear the size of an iceberg.

The Norwegian folk tales tell of men transformed into bears by evil trolls, hags or witches, wandering the tundra in search of a true love who will break the spell.

Happily, two of my favourite artists provided polar bear illustrations for such tales, Kay Nielsen and Edmund Dulac.

The first is Nielsen’s White Bear from the Norwegian folk tale, East of the Sun and West of the Moon. The bear carries his future bride to a magic castle;

“Well, mind and hold tight by my shaggy coat, and then there’s nothing to fear,” said the Bear, so she rode a long, long way.

 Eventually, through determination and a knowledge of how to remove candle wax from a shirt, the girl gets a prince and the bear gets the girl.

Kay Nielsen prints, posters, cards and more

Below is Dulac’s Snow Maiden from The Dreamer of Dreams.  The hero comes across a large number of polar bears.

They came slowly towards him, quiet and majestic, slightly swinging their heavy bodies as they glided onwards. 

They accompany a snow maiden, gathering broken hearts;

Everything about her was white, glistening and shining ; so shining that the human eye could hardly bear the radiance. her long white hair hung about her ; a circle of glow-worms surrounded her forehead.

Edmund Dulac prints, posters, cards and more

 

To see all illustrations by Kay Nielsen and Edmund Dulac, just click on the cards below – and thanks for visiting 🙂

Kay Nielsen prints, posters, cards and moreEdmund Dulac prints, posters, cards and more

Charles Darwin Day

 

It’s Darwin Day!

I can think of no better way to celebrate Charles
Darwin’s birthday than with his Galapagos finches, the
most famous birds in Natural History.

The illustrations below are from The Zoology of the
Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, under the command of Captain
Fitzroy, R.N., during the years 1832 to 1836, Part 3,
Birds.  This five volume work was edited by Darwin, who
was the ship’s naturalist on the expedition to South
America, Tahiti, Australia, New Zealand and of course
the Galapagos Islands.

On Darwin’s return, the birds he collected were sent to
John Gould for classification. Gould’s wife Elizabeth,
by now a gifted artist, used her husband’s sketches to
draw and lithograph the new discoveries.

 

This is Cactornis scandens, now known as Geospiza scandens, the Common Cactus Finch.  ‘Common indeed, I inspired the theory of natural selection!’

Darwin's Finches

Darwin's Finches by Elizabeth Gould

Above, Camarhynchus psittacula, the Large Tree-finch.  Below,  the magnificently beaked Geospiza magnirostris, the Large Ground-finch.

Darwin's Finches

The next illustration – not a finch – is Tanagra darwini, named by Gould for Charles Darwin.  This species is now known as the Blue and Yellow Tanager (Thraupis bonariensis darwinii).

The Blue-and-yellow Tanager (Pipraeidea bonariensis)

Finally, I couldn’t resist this little Flycatcher eyeing up a bug.  A nice touch by Mrs. Gould.  Happy Darwin Day 🙂

Galapagos Flycatcher, Pyrocephalus rubinus nanus

This is the third and final piece of original artwork by Jessie Willcox Smith for the book Dickens’s Children.  Here we have The Runaway Couple, Master Harry Walmers and Miss Norah, resting at the inn on their way to Gretna Green to be married.  Poor little Norah is not used to being away from home and is exhausted from a long coach journey.  Not even a Norfolk biffin is going to cheer her up.

So Boots goes up-stairs to the Angel, and there he finds Master Harry on a e-normous sofa — immense at any time, but looking like the Great Bed of Ware, compared with him — a drying the eyes of Miss Norah with his pocket-hankecher. Their little legs was entirely off the ground, of course, and it really is not possible for Boots to express to me how small them children looked.’  (Christmas Stories – The Holly Tree by Charles Dickens.)

Sadly, the union is not to be and the two go their separate ways.

‘…...I hold with him in two opinions: firstly, that there are not many couples on their way to be married who are half as innocent of guile as those two children; secondly, that it would be a jolly good thing for a great many couples on their way to be married, if they could only be stopped in time, and brought back separately.’

Original Artwork by Jessie Willcox Smith

Original Artwork by Jessie Willcox Smith

I can’t tell what Miss Norah is clutching along with her parasol, but for her wedding trip she also carried ‘a smelling-bottle, a round and a half of cold buttered toast, eight peppermint drops, and  a (doll’s) hair-brush.’

Below is the reproduction from Dickens’s Children, 1912.

Original Artwork by Jessie Willcox Smith

Please click on the postcard below to find the runaways and more – thanks for visiting 🙂

The Runaway Couple by Jessie Willcox Smith

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

 

‘Lost’ Novel to be Published After 55 Years

A few days ago, the internet (and appropriately Twitter) was a flurry of excitement over the news of a sequel to Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird.  The rediscovered manuscript, actually written before Mockingbird, is called Go Set A Watchman, and takes place 20 years after the original story.

I would like to celebrate this exciting news, not with a Finch, Peck, rabid dog or chifferobe but with real Mockingbirds.

Firstly, a classic from the bird-meister himself, John James Audubon. This famous illustration of mockingbirds defending their nest against a scary rattlesnake caused Audubon a certain amount of trouble. Rattlesnakes, many naturalists mocked, do not climb trees, even on the promise of mockingbird eggs for breakfast. Audubon insisted that he had sketched the scene after witnessing it first hand. Whatever the truth, it’s pretty impressive.

Audubon's Birds of America

Below is Mark Catesby’s Mock-Bird in a Dogwood Tree from his Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands, published from 1729 to 1747.  This two volume, 220 plate epic took Catesby seventeen years to complete, following four years of travelling and collecting, and was the first fully illustrated natural history of North America.

Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands

The last illustration is from Alice E. Ball’s A Year with the Birds, published in 1916; just one of fifty-six beautiful images of American birds by Robert Bruce Horsfall.

But hark! what is that?  Distinctly we hear
The pop of a cork, a whistle clear,
A call to a dog, a whip-poor-will’s cry,
A phoebe’s hoarse note.  Against the blue sky,
The same gray-coated, white-vested bird
Is uttering all the sounds we have heard.’

Alice E. Ball

Alice E. Ball - A Year with the Birds

 

 

Another piece of original artwork by Jessie Willcox Smith today. This is Little Em’ly, childhood friend and first love of David Copperfield; used and abused by Steerforth but eventually living happily ever after (we assume) in Australia.

‘She started from my side, and ran along a jagged timber which protruded from the place we stood upon, and overhung the deep water at some height, without the least defence. The incident is so impressed on my remembrance, that if I were a draughtsman I could draw its form here, I dare say, accurately as it was that day, and little Em’ly springing forward to her destruction (as it appeared to me), with a look that I have never forgotten, directed far out to sea.

The light, bold, fluttering little figure turned and came back safe to me, and I soon laughed at my fears, and at the cry I had uttered; fruitlessly in any case, for there was no one near.’ (David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.)

Original Artwork by Jessie Willcox Smith

 Again, this illustration is in ‘mixed media’; watercolour with oil and pastel.

Original Artwork by Jessie Willcox Smith

 Below, the reproduction from Dickens’s Children, 1912

Original Artwork by Jessie Willcox Smith

 Please click on the notebook below to find all kinds of Willcox Smith lovelies and again, thanks for visiting 🙂

Original Artwork by Jessie Willcox Smith