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!