Friday, 13 June 2014

Raymond Sheppard and Lilliput and John Sidney and Dal Stivens

Raymond Sheppard illustrated approximately 80 stories and features in Hulton's Lilliput magazine between 1951 and 1957. I have favourites and have seen many of the original artboards which are fantastic and am lucky to own a couple (that's for another day).

Before getting onto Sheppard's work in this magazine I should do a credit for the young lady on the swing. I searched for a credit in the contents page and couldn't find it so skimmed a bit further and found more about Adele Collins! I have placed a scanned copy of the article on my Visual Rants Blog.

Sheppard produces some wonderfully accurate artwork here - bear in mind the Internet as we know it is still 50 years away - and the first image of a diver encountering sharks is done in an ink wash in black and white.

p. 13 Lilliput July 1956
A diver encounters sharks
The next picture illustrates 'Bill Prentice' in his inflated diving suit, turning with shock when a grouper bumps into him and "shoves him forward a couple of feet". I researched the 'Goliath Grouper' and found it can grow to the size of a small car. No wonder Bill, in the story is worried.

Notice the colour wash used here is orange. Lilliput used a few colours in the magazine - predominantly black and white - and changed them month by month,; one month orange; one month pink and so on. I own a piece of art done by Sheppard in this orange colour but it was reproduced in blue! Presumably the editor selected one artist's work and then found he wanted to use another's but found it was a different colour and used a filter to change the colour for the photographic plates. Did he ask for orange one month, blue another, or did he merely hold inventory for use at a later date?

p. 14 Lilliput July 1956
A diver encounters a grouper
Photo: Michael Patrick O'Neill won the People in Nature Award with this
at the Nature's Best 2007 Photography Competition
[Taken from Alex Santoso's page]

In this story "Last Dive" by John Sidney, it's not really the sharks that cause a problem when searching for mother of pearl but the grouper! According to the Pura Divers website:
Goliath groupers, previously known as jewfish, were targeted by fishermen in uncontrolled numbers until 1990. This exploitation of the goliath grouper caused the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to list it as critically endangered and the fishery was closed in 1990 

p. 16 Lilliput July 1956
A Tiger Shark circles a diver

The Tiger Shark is one of the three deadliest sharks but causes few fatalities in humans. Read more on the Hawaii Tiger Research Program page.

The second story I have found by "John Sidney" is in Lilliput September 1956 called "The toughest digestion in the world" and this is also illustrated by Raymond Sheppard

p. 15 Lilliput September 1956
A Shark swims amongst crates

p. 15 Lilliput September 19566
A Shark chases a porcupine fish

Why have I put "John Sidney" in speechmarks? The excellent Fiction magazine Index   states "John Sidney pseudonym of Dal Stivens, (1911-1997)". Under his pseudonym he wrote:

It also states
Stivens, Dal(las George) (1911-1997) (stories)
Writer. Born in Blayney, Australia.

Off I went and found he is considered "in the front ranks of Australia's short story writers" and 91 boxes of his papers are deposited with the National Library of Australia where you can also see a biographical sketch from which I have taken the material below.

He was born on the last day of 1911 and followed his father into bank accounting, but after his first collection of short stories were published in 1936 he moved on. It was his job of Press Officer at Australia House in London that led to his beginning to concentrate on writing articles and stories for the British, Australian and American markets and in 1958 he returned to his homeland. . "Stivens published several collections of his short stories and four novels, one of which, A horse of air, won the Miles Franklin Award in 1970. He also published a children's book, The bushranger (1978) and a book on natural history entitled The incredible egg. Stivens' fiction is widely admired for its humour and descriptions of the bush, especially his tall tales and cricketing stories". There is a 35-page tribute in Australian Folklore, No. 11, July 1996.
Dal Stivens died in Sydney on 15 June 1997.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Raymond Sheppard and Blackie's Boys' Annual

John Tipper runs a 'group' on Facebook called "collectingbooksandmagazines" and he spotted a Raymond Sheppard illustration for me in a Blackie's Boys' Annual. He dated it 1938 and my copy has an inscription "September 1938" - as I've said before God bless those Grannies who added an inscription!

The cover of the annual was by D. C. Eyles i.e. Derek Charles Eyles (John Adcock has some more of his illustrations on his excellent blog and Geoff West has some artwork for sale on his Illustration Art Gallery). The first story in this annual is "A Spy in the Lines" by Clive Ryland - a good way of identifying editions of this series of books which tend to have no date.

Blackie's Boys' Annual 1938 Cover by D. C. Eyles
The picture John uploaded is this one of an elephant charging the reader. Interestingly the inserted illustration is on a glossy paper, just like the colour ones by other artists, but Sheppard's is in black and white! It accompanies the story "Moments with elephants" by Theodore Ruete. The author appears to have written around the turn of the 19th to 20th Century and mostly about African subjects - such as "Roads and bridges in Nigeria" in 1928, "Kenya, the cordage colony". An interesting reference turned up to an article in an academic journal to "Japan. The modern world's enigma".in Contemp. Rev. Nov., 1934. The last story I could find was "Northwards to the Nile" in The Pick of Boys' Stories, c.1935.

Blackie's Boys' Annual 1938 opposite p197
The leader of the herd
Note: this plate has number F96 on it

Christine Sheppard showed me the following in her collection of drawings and proofs from books and magazines and it's interesting to see how finished this looks and similar to the above

"Romance of ivory" story

If anyone recognises it I'd love to know where it appeared - especially as we have a clue, but I couldn't track down "romance of ivory" as a story or book title. Here's a sketch (kindly provided by Christine Sheppard) - one of many - where we can see that her father did a lot of studying to produce such authentic looking material.

Elephant head sketch by Raymond Sheppard

John didn't mention the other illustrations by Sheppard for another story,"Bundar, the Hooluck" by Arthur W. Strachan. Strachan's most durable work is Mauled by a Tiger: Encounters in the Indian Jungles in which we learn "this book will appeal to all those who have experienced the beauty and fascination of the Indian jungles", and how the author was mauled himself by a tiger and had two limbs amputated! Most editions have the illustrations drawn by Strachan himself.

Here are the illustrations for Strachan's story of Bundar, the gibbon who grows up from his mother's nursing to independence in the trees and in the interests of research I have read the story and was suprised to find it still as entertaining as I suspect it was 80 years ago. Hylobates Hooluck (or Hoolock) are the genus for the North Indian Gibbon

p.106 Quick as lightning the python struck
A snake catches a monkey as three others swing to safety

p.110 A narrow escape for Bundar
A leopard leaps at four monkeys

p. 113 He fought like a mad thing
Five monkeys with one attacking another

I have another Blackie's Boys' Annual Son and based on book titles advertised on the back cover it was published some time between 1931-1939 and the first story is called “The Camel's Hump”

Blackie's Boys' Annual 193? Cover by D. C. Eyles

Raymond Sheppard illustrated the story "The Saurian" by G. Prescott and from the images below you will see what is meant by 'saurian'.

Opposite p.48:
A luminous and gigantic crocodile was moving rapidly towards them
A crocodile approaches a hunter and "Sammy, his boy"
Note: this plate has number F467 on it
p.49 An oil drum was entangled in the tree's roots
Man in pith helmet points while native in fez looks on

p.50 Crocodile climbs over rock, out of the water

I also have a Blackie's Children's Annual and a copy of a Blackie's Girls' Annual but there for another time!