Monday, 29 September 2014

Animals and their young by Raymond Sheppard (Part Two)

In Part One of this subject we saw the Polar Bears and in this article we can see all the other Sheppard pictures which appeared in the Longacre Press book Animals and their young, which reprinted the series by Sheppard from Swift comic. In the final part of this topic we'll look at how the art in the book does not match that of the comic.

Animals and their young A-L

Anteater p.3
Armadillo p.5

Bison p.11

Brown Bear p.12

Camel p.15
Cheetah p.17

Gazelle p.23

Giraffe p.25

Gorilla p.27

Hippopotamus p.31

Kangaroo p.33

Koala Bear p.35

Leopard p.37

Lion p.39

Animals and their young M-Z next....

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Animals and their young by Raymond Sheppard (Part One)

Raymond Sheppard: 'Animals and their young' Swift 6 April 1957.
The fourth comic in the Hulton Press stable, a companion title to Eagle, launched in April 1950, Girl in November 1951, and the nursery comic, Robin, in March 1953 – Swift was first published on 20 March 1954. Raymond Sheppard’s involvement with the Hulton children’s papers, began with a full-colour adaptation of the Anna Sewell classic, “Black Beauty”, for the newly-launched Girl; a brief spell, in April 1952, on ‘Advice on Your Pets’ in Eagle, was followed by a 26-week Girl series, ‘Elizabeth Cruft’s Pets Corner’. A regular contributor to the various associated Hulton annuals, he also returned to Eagle, during 1954, illustrating seven episodes of the colour feature, ‘Famous Horses’. All of which will be explored another time. In this article we want to concentrate on the first of his two series appearing in Swift: ‘Animals and their Young’, which began in Volume 4:14, dated 6 April 1957. Raymond Sheppard was fully credited in the title, of both this series and its successor, ‘British Birds and their Nests’. The feature formed part of Swift’s colour centre-spread, and commenced with the Polar Bear.

Animals and their young: Polar Bears p.59

If it hadn’t been for David Slinn, who had freelanced on Swift around this time, I’d have remained unaware that this series had ever been reprinted. When providing me with a complete listing of Sheppard’s Swift illustrations, he’d made a passing reference to the existence of these two books. Causing me to enthusiastically seek a copy of a Swift book called ‘Wild Birds and Animals of Britain’. But, disappointingly, this turned out to have entirely photographic contents, as did many other similar titles produced under the Swift banner during the early 1960s. Nevertheless, as it is now in my possession, it seemed worth scanning the cover to include here.
Wild Birds and Animals of Britain: A Swift Picture Book

I reported my sad little misadventure, and David wrote back:
“Having, inadvertently, caused you to purchase the “wrong” Swift Picture Book; bearing in mind it was so long ago, I feared maybe I’d just imagined that these series had been reprinted in two collected volumes. It was a bit of a relief – after initially searching in error through earlier filed issues – to find the hazily-recalled advertisements really did exist.”

And he kindly attached this scan as evidence
SWIFT 8th December 1962

With rather more to go on, than faulty guesswork based on “animals”, “birds” and “Swift”, I recommenced the search with renewed optimism. Soon I discovered it was Longacre Press that had published these reprints and, after receiving the books, found why they had previously eluded me – in both instances, neither book has a title verso page containing the publisher’s details, printing history or other obligatory information. No author’s name appears on the title-page, neither are the artists credited and, oddest of all, there’s no acknowledgement whatsoever of the content having originally been published elsewhere!

Cover to the 1962 reprint of the Swift series
Title page of the reprint

With David’s full listing to hand, covering Sheppard’s first Swift series between 6 April and 2 November 1957 I was able to check this against the animals featured in the reprint volume. Interestingly, the animals weren’t grouped according to their species, but assembled alphabetically – slightly reminiscent of a nursery picture-book. For some reason the Lynx is missing, otherwise all twenty-nine of his original illustrations are included – together, incidentally, with a further eleven species required to complete the 80-page book.

Here's the full list of Raymond Sheppard's "Animals and their young" as they appeared in Swift

Date Animal In the book?
6 April 1957 Polar bear Yes
13 April 1957 Bison Yes
27 April 1957 Tigers Yes
4 May 1957 The Hippopotamus Yes
11 May 1957 Giraffes Yes
18 May 1957 The Lion Yes
25 May 1957 Kangaroos Yes
1 June 1957 Rhesus Monkeys As 'Monkeys'
8 June 1957 The Llama Yes
15 June 1957 The Puma or Mountain Lion Yes
22 June 1957 Thompson’s Gazelle Yes
29 June 1957 The Koala Yes
6 July 1957 The Cheetah Yes
13 July 1957 Gorillas Yes
20 July 1957 The Kodiak or Alaska Brown Bear Yes
27 July 1957 Zebras Yes
3 August 1957 The Platypus Yes
10 August 1957 The Wolf Yes
17 August 1957 The Common Seal Yes
24 August 1957 The Okapi Yes
31 August 1957 The Leopard Yes
7 September 1957 The Bactrian Camel Yes
14 September 1957 The Great Anteater Yes
21 September 1957 The Crested Porcupine Yes
28 September 1957 The Giant Panda Yes
5 October 1957 The Lynx No
12 October 1957 The One-horned Indian Rhinoceros Yes
19 October 1957 Orang-utan Yes
26 October 1957 The Nine-banded Armadillo Yes
2 November 1957 The Maylayan Tapir Yes

In discussing these books with David, a good deal of additional background information, regarding the animals that were not drawn by Sheppard, came to light – and this is covered separately on my other blog Visual Rants.