Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Raymond Sheppard and the Children's New Illustrated Encyclopedia by Collins

Dustjacket cover by unknown artist

The Children's New Illustrated Encyclopedia, by Collins Clear-Type Press was published some time after 1945 as it mentions the Second World War in the past. Various references on the Net state dates of 1948/1949/1950 so I suspect they are guessing or perhaps using some written inscription to date it. The British Library would not see this as being in the collection scope at the time and appear not to have a copy.  Also a quick search shows that the editor, John R. Crossland wrote on nature subjects and edited other works. He appears to have been a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society. In the foreword he writes:

"You who are now to dip into this book have probably spent your childhood in a terrible war. You know well what war means to our land and to every family in it. .So in this book we have tried to give you a picture of the three great nations whose peoples marched with us to a common victory. You will read the story of our great American ally, that of our Chinese friends and the tale of mighty Soviet Russia. .An encyclopedia may become dull and heavy if it is not brightened with features that are meant for amusement rather than for deep thought. Such light and amusing features you will discover as you go through these pages."
The other contributors are listed in the scan below. I suspect Sheppard might have met L. R. Brightwell as they were both Fellows of the Royal Zoological Society and contributed to Boy's Own Paper. I have scanned some the latter's work on another blog:

Title Page

Finally enough of my ramblings. I found this book last week on an expedition round various secondhand bookshops and sent a copy to Christine Sheppard to ask her opinion and she confirmed it most certainly is her father's work, although unsigned and uncredited in the book.

Page 332a "Underwater chase: Otters in pursuit of salmon"

The picture is a beautiful painting (watercolour?) of two otters chasing a run of salmon. The picture stands out a mile in this book as most colour plates are photos as is much of the rest of the book. This is a beautiful exampkle of Raymond Sheppard's knowledge of not only the animals themselves but also their setting and characteristics.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Raymond Sheppard exhibition - June 16th - June 30th 2013

Bear Studies(1) by Raymond Sheppard (used with permission)
The Wildlife Art Gallery, in the beautiful village of Lavenham (over the Essex border in Suffolk), is hosting an exhibition of Sheppard's wildlife art from June 16th - June 30th 2013. I visited the previous Sheppard exhibition and can recommend the Gallery without hesitation. It's a lovely space and 'WAG', as it's abbreviated, sells books as well as art. The best book on Sheppard - so far, said he optimistically - is on sale for £38 at WAG. The website is well worth spending some time on as WAG generously share many artists' work. Ralph Thompson's artwork will also be on display at the same time as Sheppard

The WAG site states:
This exhibition celebrates the centenary of the birth of Raymond Sheppard. Sadly his life was cut short from cancer at the age of 45. He was a very talented artist and illustrator and during his life he produced many paintings and sketches. He illustrated numerous books and magazine articles, drawing and painting every thing from landscape to people and animals. Many of his commissions involved animals as he was considered to be one of the best artists to work in that field, combining realistic habitat with accurate depictions of the animal or bird. Among his credits were ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ by Ernest Hemingway, a series of books about man eating tigers by Jim Corbett and a series of books on how to draw animals. In order to get reference material he spent countless hours at the London Zoo, filling many sketchbooks and loose sheets of paper. The best of these studies he cut out and kept in folders as reference for his various illustration work. It is these drawings that form the basis of this exhibition and they are displayed as he cut them out but now are arranged and framed to form groups or subjects. 
 There are some lovely sketches and finished pieces on the website

Bear studies (2) (Used with permission)

Did you know....the population of Lavenham has not substantially changed in two thousand years ?