Monday, 16 September 2013

Raymond Sheppard and Heidi and Dog Crusoe

In a previous article on Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, I commented that Sheppard had drawn for Blackie & Son and there were various reprints under different series titles. I have a copy of the classic Heidi that on the dustjacket states "Blackie's Famous Books" and on the inside flyleaf of the cover states "Blackie's Library of Famous Books". The former is a reasonable abbreviation in order to fit the title on the cover!

Heidi cover by Raymond Sheppard

List of Blackie's Library of famous Books
The difficulty in identifying whether Sheppard drew the covers for all these (let alone the illustrations - if there are any) is they are so common but these specific editions with dustjackets are so hard to find!

Here are the internal pictures of the Heidi:

Frontispiece “Oh, I know what these are for”

p.117 “Oh, the dear little things, how pretty they are!”

p.169 The moonlight fell on a white figure standing motionless in the doorway

p.317 “Look! Look! I can make proper steps!”

Interestingly a bookseller in Spain of all places, has an original art piece (costing £596.03 with £10.12 shipping today's currency conversion rate!) which does not appear in any of the three editions of Heidi illustrated by Sheppard I have seen. This can be viewed here. I have reproduced the illustration below which the bookseller (Escalinata, librería) describes (in my rough translation) as:

ORIGINAL DRAWING. Unpublished illustration for HEIDI, Blackie & Son Limited edition, illustrated by Raymond Sheppard, signed by the author [sic] and in pencil final size and page number is indicated. 
The bookseller kindly sent the scan below for which I am extremely grateful.
Unpublished Heidi drawing by Raymond Sheppard

The full text of this story written in 1860 by R. M. Ballantyne (24 April 1825 – 8 February 1894) can be read on Project Gutenberg in your favoured e-format, and tells the story of young Dick Varley who saves the life of a Newfoundland puppy from being roasted alive by Native Americans. He then has to learn how to discipline and care for the dog and their adventures in North America in the land of the Red Indians makes thrilling reading for younger people. Its sub-title was "A tale of the Western prairies".

The copy I have has only a cover illustration by Raymond Sheppard showing a Newfoundland running along with two prairie riders and the spine illustration shows a boy being defended from a mountain lion by the dog. 

This Blackie edition of Dog Crusoe (the title of which appears listed above) has a different look from the other books mentioned here. Hopefully in writing about this some keen collector might get in contact and help complete this picture!

The only inner illustration is a colour frontispiece by -I think - Arch(?) Webb. If I'm reading this right, there is an excellent article on him on the Look & Learn site

The Dog Crusoe cover illustrations by Sheppard
Frontis by A. Webb.

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