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!
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.
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.
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!
A Monograph of the Trochilidæ, or Family of Humming-Birds
John Gould (1804-1881) was a top bod in English ornithology, curator of the Zoological Society of London and identifier of Darwin’s finches. He also loved hummingbirds.
Although he’d never seen a live hummingbird – he would see his first in 1857 – Gould had a collection of 320 species. These he exhibited at the Great Exhibition in 1851, garnering public interest and subscribers to his Monograph of the Trochilidæ, which was issued in 25 parts between 1849 and 1861 and subsequently published in 5 volumes.
The illustrations – lithographed by Henry Constantine Richter and William Hart from sketches by Gould – are as delicate and beautifully coloured as the little birds themselves.
There are over 400 plates and I must use them all. However, since I don’t think Zazzle is ready for that many hummingbird products all in one go, I’m going to use one illustration a week.
Cyanomyia franciae – Francia’s Azure-Crown – on Cuphea cordata
From Mr Gould’s description;
“Of the five or six known species of the genus Cyanomyia the C. Franciae may be regarded as the most beautiful….The glittering of the parts referred to is so resplendent, that it is out of the power of any person, I believe, to portray them; hence art and device are in this instance at a nonplus. In the accompanying plate a representation of these feathers is attempted with the ordinary media. If the reader can imagine the neck-plumes to be lit up with the most brilliant and glittering light possible, he may have some faint idea of their loveliness….”
Please click on the poster below to see posters, cards, postcards and notebooks featuring these gorgeous little birds. Thanks for visiting 🙂