Thursday, 25 December 2014

Raymond Sheppard and the Girl Annuals #4-6

Raymond Sheppard illustrations appear in every Girl Annual until the year of his early death, 1958. Hulton Press annuals #1-3 have been featured here already. These are not to be confused with the earlier and rarer Hulton's Girls' Annual published by Allied Newspapers

GIRL ANNUAL #4 [1956]
"Susan's ride" by Anna McMullen

[No caption], p.76
Girl on horse riding through stormy forest
Susan kicked out the stirrups and luckily fell clear, p.77
Four riders – girl in foreground falls off

It was a dreadful feeling when Molly's legs
no longer touched the ground and her neck stretched out
as she tried to swim through the flood, p.79
Girl on horse encourages horse through flood

Intriguingly I can't find anything about or by Anna McMullen, the author. One item found is not in evidence anywhere else in any of the major catalogues and her name doesn't appear in any other Girl Annuals I own.

GIRL ANNUAL #5 [1957]
"Women in the horse world" by Veronica Heath
[No caption] 
Horse troop perform at circus, p.145

A job as a groom will probably mean getting up at 6.30
and cleaning the pony and his stable, before breakfast!, p.146
Girl sweeps out tiled floor

Many shows hold classes only open to women riders – for example the 'ladies' jumping', p.147
Girl on horse jumps fence
Veronica Heath (1927-2012) appears to have been the author of many books on country living and horses and latterly on 'beating' - as in gundogs! Here's a short list of her books and her obituary which tells us that she was the Guardian’s country diarist for Northumberland for 35 years. 

A dog at heel : beating, picking-up, retrieving Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell Press, 1987.
A gundog handler's guide to picking up Shrewsbury : Swan Hill, 1999.
A Taste of Northumberland : traditional country cooking with Veronica Heath. Powdene Publicity, 2003.
Beginner's guide to riding. London, Pelham [1971]
Come pony trekking with me. London, F. Muller [1964]
Come riding with me London, F. Muller, 1955.
Come show-jumping with me London, 1961.
Let's own a pony Melksham : Colin Venton, [1974]
Perfect cooking with game Twickenham : Hamlyn, 1983.
Ponies London : Cassell, 1969.
Ponies and pony management. Arco, 1966.
Ponies in the heather Lutterworth Press, 1959.
Riding for beginners Oxford : Oxford Illustrated Press, 1978.
So you want to be a show jumper Melksham : Colin Venton, 1974.
Susan's riding school (part of the Mary Dunn Career Novels series) Chatto & Windus, 1956.
The family dog: his care and management; London, Pelham, 1972.

The NOBS guide to beating and picking up
Quiller Publishing, 2009.

Your pony.
Cassell, 1954.

Many of her books can be bought from Jane Badger Books - where a biography appears

GIRL ANNUAL #6 [1958]
"Sharing a cottage with some of my bird friends" by Len Howard

[No caption] , p.141
Two blackbirds swirl around an earthen pot
It's interesting to note how Sheppard added his signature to the piece above, rather unusually written at an angle!

This is the notice that stands outside Bird Cottage, p. 142
Two sparrows and robin atop a sign

A favourite toy for the tits was pecking at a toy elephant, p.143
Two tits pull at the elephant's stuffing
The tits enjoy picking sea shells from a jam jar and throwing them across the room, p.143
Tit flies with shell above jam jar

Len Howard, who I assumed was a man, is in fact Gwendolen Howard (1894 - 5 January 1973) or Olive Howard - see the Wikipedia links for the story, from which this basic bibliography comes.

  • Various articles in Out of Doors and Countrygoer (prior to 1950, these were separate publications; Howard was published approximately from 1951–1957).
  • Birds as Individuals. London: Collins Press, 1952.
  • Various articles in The Countryman (approximately from 1953–1957), including "Two Nesting Seasons" 54:1 (Spring 1957).
  • Living with Birds. London: Collins Press, 1956

So finally, let me wish all my readers a very Happy Christmas and what better way than to show you a very proud robin redbreast!

Stalky used to make himself tall and thin to impress the other robins, p.144
Robin stands very tall

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Raymond Sheppard and the Girl Annuals #1-3

Hulton Press had a runaway success with their Eagle comic and felt that they should produce a girl's comic.  On 2 November 1951 the first issue of Girl was published and it ran until 3 October 1964 when it merged, in that typically British way, into Princess. By that time the cover photographs were of the burgeoning pop scene and on the 26 September 1964, for example, the Beatles appeared.

Emulating the Eagle, Girl also had accompanying annuals and Hulton's annuals are my favourites. As a child I hated the annual versions of the comic strips I enjoyed in my weekly comic (TV21, in my case) that appeared in the annuals and always found them disappointing. But even today I love looking through the Hulton family annuals. In the usual fashion, the annuals came out in the preceding year (i.e. in August/September 1952, the 1953 annual would appear in shops).

Raymond Sheppard contributed to six of the Girl annuals from 1953 to 1958 illustrating various stories and features. 

GIRL ANNUAL #1 [1953]
"Blizzard" by Rosemary Garland

Patsy really loved horses p. 44
Girl stands in stable doorway feeding horse by hand
Bill prodded the horse again and again  p. 45
 Man prods horse with pitchfork while girl on roof watches

He took the jumps with splendid gusto  p. 47
Man on horse jumps hedge with white horse with reins attached

I had a look at Garland's output and found the following which I assume to be the same author.
  • 366 dreamtime stories    London : Hodder and Stoughton, 1976.
  • A swarm in June    H. Hamilton, 1957.
  • Adventuring with Brindle, H. Hamilton, 1963.
  • Adventuring with Brindle ... Illustrated by Constance Marshall. (Second edition.).    Hamish Hamilton: London, 1964.
  • Aladdin's magic lamp and other tales.    London : Young World Productions, (1964)
  • Cherry goes to play school. Harrap, 1968.
  • Donkey boy. H. Hamilton, 1958.
  • Glass. London : Educational supply Association, 1952.
  • Gulliver's travels. London : Young World Productions, (1964)
  • Lighthouses. ([With illustrations including] drawings by F.W. Wentworth-Sheilds.). London, 1961.
  • My bedtime book of two-minute stories. [with Tony Escott; Sally Wellman]. New York, Grosset & Dunlap [ 1969]
  • Reading with Winnie-the-Pooh : material is derived from the Winnie-the-Pooh books written by A.A. Milne. London : Nelson, [1966]
  • Robin Hood, London, Young World Productions (1964)
  • Sing a song of everything, [with Mirko Hanaƌk]    London, New York, P. Hamlyn [1968]
  • The canary shop H. Hamilton, 1960.
  • The country bus    .  H. Hamilton, 1960.
  • The little forest. H. Hamilton, 1959.
  • The mystery of Misty Creek. Ward, Lock, 1956.
  • The secret curtains Harrap, 1959.
  • The smiling sun : poems Hamlyn, 1961.
  • Two-minute stories. New York, Grosset & Dunlap, Publishers, 1969.
  • Whirling Blue H. Hamilton, 1957.

GIRL ANNUAL #2 [1954]
"The King loses his crown" by Arthur Catherall

[No caption] p. 73
Girl below ledge watches 6 horses race past
King's eyes were rolling, but Tim hung on  p.75
Boy holds tight to lasso as girl watches

He lashed out with his hind hoofs, p.77Man kicked as boy holds lasso and girl (with back to us) screams and waves
Catherall was a British author who lived from 1906-1980 and apparently wrote under seven pseudonyms! His output appears at odds with writing a horse story in a Girl Annual until one sees one of his pseudonyms was Margaret Ruthin.

GIRL ANNUAL #3 [1955]
[Title page, p.3]
Show jumper comes over brick wall jump at show

"Clear round: Meet Pat Smythe, Britain's leading horsewoman" by  Kenneth Wheeler

[No caption] p. 33
Portrait of Pat Smythe

Pat and 'Price Hal' take a fence in magnificent style p.34(a)
Near side view of jump over striped poles and small brick wall 

Pat Smythe turned 'Tosca' into a champion in one year p.34
Back view of show jumper and picket fence jump

Young people from all over the world come to stay with Pat at Miserden House, p.35
Four children and two horses stand around  and a woman pats a greyhound

"The story of Britain's ponies" by Frank Jordan
[No caption], p.100
Three men mounted chasing herding horses and ponies
Time was when ponies in their thousands roamed the wilds of Dartmoor, p.101
Six ponies traipse through water
Some boys and girls are lucky enough to own a Fell or Forest pony, p.102
Girl mounted on pony heads towards reader down a lane

The little Shetland ponies are beloved of children and grown ups alike, 103
Girl and Mum stroke adult and small Shetland

Sheppard's work appeared in the Annuals for 1956, 1957 and 1958, the year in which he died, which will feature in the next blog article.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Raymond Sheppard and Liss Fine Art

Paul Liss has let me know that there are some original Raymond Sheppard artworks for sale and I thought I'd highlight them as they are gorgeous studies. Click on the captions to get to Liss Fine Art site


Servals (Leptailurus serval) are a medium-sized African wild cat.  Sheppard did not have the means to travel to Africa and based most  of his drawings of animals observed at Regents Park Zoo.  On the strength of these - through which he gained a reputation as one of the finest artists in this field - he was made a Fellow of the Zoological Society in 1949. In the same year, he published ‘Drawing at the Zoo’, one of three collaborations made with The Studio magazine

Studies of hippopotamus
Hippo resting
Study of a tiger

Polar Bear glancing right


Monday, 13 October 2014

Animals and their young by Raymond Sheppard (Part Four)

In my previous three articles we have seen all the pictures, from the Longacre Press book, 'Animals and their Young', taken from the series first published in Swift during 1957.

Now let’s look at how the reprinted artwork differs from their appearance in the original feature. The format of the 1962 book, has a comprehensive description of the animal on the left hand side of each page-opening, with the illustration taking up the complete right hand page. The Porcupine is shown below and, where possible, an accompanying copy of other features taken from Swift is also included with the original published artwork.

Page 60 showing text on the Porcupine

Swift 21 Sept 1957 The Crested Porcupine
Page 61 Porcupine

While it’s not especially obvious in this example, another artist has completed the drawing of the baby porcupine in the foreground, also adding the rocks and earth surface, to the bottom right hand corner of the reprinted illustration. On closer examination, the treatment of the boulders and ground area does vary slightly from Raymond Sheppard’s original handling of the remainder of the artwork. Each of the pictures included in the book contains a similar reworked section somewhere..

David Slinn who, as previously mentioned, worked for Swift in the late Fifties, provided this clearer explanation:

“All the illustrations for ‘Animals and Their Young’, and also ‘Birds and Their Nests’, incorporated a panel of flat colour to accommodate the short descriptive text. This would then be lettered on a thin cartridge overlay, attached by a small taped-hinge to the adjacent margin of the artwork. During the preparation of the four-colour separations at Eric Bemrose Limited [the printers based in Liverpool], the overlay was flapped aside, leaving the artwork fully exposed. Then, with the overlay back in place, a second black negative was made of the lettering in its correct position. This procedure ensured the printed caption would be on a solid area of colour, free of any reversed-out image of the lettering. If you examine the reproductions in the books closely, although the majority of these later additions to the artwork are very skilfully executed, it is possible to see where each of the original illustrations has been extended.”  

David’s informative revelations led me to publishing another article on my other blog Visual Rants. 

And here are some other featured animals where either – thanks to the kindness of Christine Sheppard – I have cuttings or, more recently, further scans from David. Now look carefully to see where each caption panel has been replaced, with an area of additional artwork, on these pages from the Longacre Press book.

p.73 Tapir (top left filled easily!)
Swift 2 Nov 1957 The Malayan Tapir

p.37 Leopard
Swift 31 Aug 1957 The Leopard

Cover of reprint book uses The Tiger and the box is easily filled in!

Swift 27 April 1957 Tigers

p. 11 Bison

Swift 13 April 1957 Bison
And lastly, particular thanks to David Slinn for this scan of the single example that I don’t own in any form – as it doesn’t appear in the reprint book – so, that’s the whole series reproduced for the first time in 57 years! Although, for followers of my Frank Bellamy blog, this won’t be the first time a missing Lynx from Swift has been provided by David – giving me the opportunity to acknowledge his collaboration, in both putting together and writing this series of articles.

Swift 5 October 1957 The Lynx

Monday, 6 October 2014

Animals and their young by Raymond Sheppard (Part Three)

Here's the rest of the alphabet from Animals and their young published by Longacre Press in 1962 based on the original series drawn by Raymond Sheppard in the Swift comic

Llama p. 41

Monkeys p.43

Okapi p.47

Orang-Utan p.51

Panda p.55

Platypus p.57

Polar Bear p. 59

Puma p.63

Rhinoceros p.65

Seal p.67

Tapir p.73

Wolf p.77

Zebra p. 79
NEXT: Part Four in which we investigate the differences between the reprinted art and that which appeared in the Swift comic