Friday, 22 February 2013

Beyond the Timberland Trail

The dustjacket for Beyond the Timberland Trail states:

Beyond the Timberland Trail marks a new phase in the work of this animal story writer. Leaving the English scene for the Barrens of North-West Canada, he tells the story of three generations of wolves. It was Olee Perrault, the trapper, who first expressed the opinion that the wolves "Grey Shadow", "Keewaydin", and "Dark Starlight", had dog blood in their veins. How right he was in his assertion became only too clear in the light of subsequent events: The struggle of the wolves against the blood of Klaus, the Shepherd dog, their hazardous adventures against famine, blizzard and the wiles of man, makes a gripping story,  heightened by the dramatic austerity of the Northland. How the blood of Klaus triumphs in the end over three generations of wolves, brings to a satisfactory conclusion a story written in prose so striking that it makes the reading of the book a refreshing experience for young and old alike. Splendidly illustrated by Raymond Sheppard.


Jospeh E(ugene) Chipperfield, (1951). Beyond the Timberland Trail A Hutchinson Junior Novel. London: Hutchinson. The American edition published in 1953 by Longmans, Green and Co. was illustrated by Zhenya Gay. According to Jane Badger Books, Chipperfield was born in Cornwall on 20 April 1912 and died on 3 Jan 1976 and wrote many animal (horse and dogs) books.

The Frontispiece is taken from the cover and shows three Eskimos (Inuits) herding reindeer down a snowy gap and one man points to the pack of wolves behind the herd

Opposite page 30 (Grey Shadow section)
One wolf pins another to the snowy ground whilst the pack look on

Opposite page 140 (Keewaydin section)
Defending his cub, Keewaydin attacks a lynx,whilst Rhuroo the Golden Eagle flies in

Opposite page 164 (Dark Starlight section)
Five wolves attack the three oxen in the snow

Sheppard's strengths in animal painting and drawing are shown off well in these pieces and the colour is vibrant. The compositions are full of action with the eye being drawn in circular motions back into the pictures. Note also how Sheppard has drawn outlines in some parts and not in others. He uses the colour differences to work as contrast between two 'lines' rather than label the point of difference between two contrasting sections.  

Friday, 15 February 2013

The Modern World Book of Animals

The latest item added to my collection is thanks to one of my beautiful daughters who knows her Dad loves a second-hand bookshop. My wife is also very forbearing, she usually finds something of interest and settles to perusing it while I flick very quickly through pages and pages of old children's books.

Cover by unknown artist
The Modern World: Book of animals edited by John R. Gilbert [1950] Sampson, Low, Marston & Co. Ltd. dating the book is difficult, but C. L. Doughty has signed a picture of a camel caravan in the Sahara '1949' and the British Library catalogue record has [1950] which is usually arrived by the date of accession.

Raymond Sheppard's single piece appears opposite page 16 with the caption "No cat and dog fights seem likely here. A sunny day, a shimmering lake – and an enjoyable time is clearly guaranteed for all"

Click to enlarge

A girl, boy and their pets are playing near a lake. It shows a girl in a pink dress raising her arm to throw a stick for a Jack Russell. The boy wearing a schoolcap is holding the leash of a border collie. A cat is pawing the girl's leg

The book is part of  series of "Modern World" books and other artists I can identify in this copy are Harold Tamblyn-Watts,  and 'Hofton'. Most of the book is made up of photographs

Friday, 8 February 2013

Nature through the seasons in colour

Odhams and Blackie and Sons have given me a lot of trouble in searching for Raymond Sheppard's artwork. Both publishers reprinted materials frequently and in one instance I have found three versions of the same contents with three different titles!

The British Library has three entries for "Nature through the seasons in colour" one dated 1953, one guessed at as 1953 - (normally taken from the accession date) and the last is unknown. In the book Odhams have stated their copyright as T.453.S in their mysterious notation system. Could this be 1953? If so, why do the British Library have three editions? They normally do not take reprints. 
Flyleaf from Nature through the seasons in colour

On the flyleaf in the dustjacket, it states the plates include such notable artists as [...] and includes Raymond Sheppard FRZA, RI. As I stated in a recent article (Illustrators # 2) Sheppard's post-nominals were:
Raymond Sheppard Fellow of Zoological Society (F.Z.S, 1946); Society of Graphic Artists (S.G.A, 1947); Pastel Society (P.S., 1948); Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours (R.I, 1949). 
I suspect the Odhams editor didn't try too hard to get this right and it should read FZS. If Sheppard joined the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours in 1949, 1953 is a best guess for the date of publication. Anyone know any different, please contact me.

Title page

Plate facing Page 65

This colour plate opposite Page 65 shows "Wild animals with their young" including "Badger at sett with young, Hare with leverets in the “form”, Fallow deer (buck, hind and fawn), Stoat family on the move, Hedgehog and young, Fox (vixen with cubs), Otter (? with cubs), Squirrel with young at drey. The caption by the otters is impossible to read in the original! 

Plate facing Page 168

The colour plate opposite page 168 shows "How animals employ protective coloration" - "Stoat or ermine (winter dress), Blue or mountain hare (winter dress), Red deer (fawns), Bittern, Hen pheasant, and Nightjar

Monday, 4 February 2013

Raymond Sheppard and Seal Morning - Part Five

I mentioned that I wanted to say something about the artwork too and as this blog is about Sheppard, we need some artwork.

In the copies of Seal Morning that have Sheppard's drawings there are many 'flipped' pictures; single birds taken from the group he drewelsewhere in the book, and a rabbit leaping (but this time without the wall drawn underneath. There is also one strange picture which is 'flipped':

Lora the seal looks right with trees/bushes on her left

Lora looks left - same rock, mountain but no trees!

It was unusual but not unknown for Sheppard to use similar drawings - see below - but this is odd. The rock on the first picture looks crude on the left as if a publisher's artist was told to change it slightly. Unfortunately all my efforts to track down any original art from this work has led nowhere - disappeared just like Rowena Farre did in her lifetime!

Lastly Sheppard did so many animal studies in his lifetime that he was bound to duplicate ideas.

Hare runs right to left

The following is taken from a book called Round the year: Summer, p.97

But as you can see it's not flipped but a different picture, showing his great talent.

NEXT TIME:  Nature through the seasons in colour