Monday, 1 May 2023

Raymond Sheppard and Our Caravan


Our Caravan cover

In previous articles I've shown the compilation The Caravan Family (with a biography of the author) which contains  Our House on WheelsOur Camping Holiday and Our Caravan featured here. 

Before we start I wanted to say something of the material used to draw on. Sheppard appears here to have used Whatman's Water Colour Sketching Board size #9 (21.25 x 15 inches / 54 x 30.2 cm) made by Winsor & Newton Limited. This can be clearly be seen on the reverse of the three images auctioned recently which appeared in the 'caravan' series.

Whatman's Water Colour Sketching Board - reverse

The other interesting thing to be gleaned from the reverse of the board is that Sheppard drew these for Byron Studios Limited who were based at 8 Farringdon Avenue, Shoe Lane EC4 (Telephone CENTRAL 539213) and were obviously published by Blackie and Son.

 The stories contained in this last volume are:

  • A spring start
  • Birds and flowers
  • In the woods
  • Shopping
  • Change of weather
  • The snow-storm
  • Harry
  • Playing about
  • Dressing up - and home

 So let's look at Raymond Sheppard's illustrations for this book.

"Before them stood the “magic carpet”"
The children rush to see the caravan

Title page - with inscription!
The car towing the caravan

"The swallows came back"

"'There are houses across those fields', said Tony"
The children (and Colin) spot a church and village

"Buying Mother's birthday present"
A lovely scene of an old-fashioned corner shop

“Thank you so much”, said Patsy
George lifts Paul up on his shoulder
"Thanks so much" is unusual in this series, being a black and white full page where the only full pages are normally in colour
"The drive to the Beacon"

The family run through the snowstorm

"A spring snow-storm"
The snow starts falling

"It's getting like a blizzard"
Father and the boys watch from inside the caravan

The family walk in the snow - Original Art

"Breakfast on the road"
The family walk in the snow - as published
The colours of the original art still look bright and compare them to the published version.
"Tony gets busy"
Tony shovels snow from the caravan door

"Here he comes, late for breakfast as usual"


 "The best-tempered of ponies"
Harry rides the pony

"All dressed up"
The children put on a play, all dressed up

"Where could those children be?"
The men search the secret passage for the children

Picking daffoldils

"Homeward Bound"

Notice the two rabbits on the verge after the caravan has driven past - a nice image for the endpaper of this book.

I did wonder putting this together whether the books were each designed to map the seasons as Our House on Wheels is set in Summer, Our Camping Holiday is set in Autumn, and the last Our Caravan is set in Winter/Spring. The theme was popular as we have seen with Maribel Edwin's titles for example.

Monday, 10 April 2023

Raymond Sheppard and Our Camping Holiday


Our Camping Holiday cover

 In previous articles I've shown the compilation The Caravan Family and also Our House on Wheels. This time it's the turn of Our Camping Holiday.

 The stories featured are:

  • An Autumn Outing
  • A Friend On The Road
  • An Adventure And A Surprise
  • All Together
  • The Caravan Dragon
  • "Deer!"
  • The Pony Fair
  • All The Fun!
  • Rain!
  • The Flood

Because some of the reproductions in my copy are rather washed out - especially with the colour prints, I have decided to scan the ones from The Caravan Family. I'd love to know if others see the same thing in their copy of this book. I've repeated the original art for the fairground ride below to show some difference between the original and the printed version. The colour of image of Colin the terrier (below) was used on the cover of Animals: Stories and pictures (which was also published by Blackie) which I've yet to show on this blog. Quite a few images are used for the 'Caravan' series in fact.

"An Autumn picnic" Inside cover

Title page
"Patsy rushed in"
Patsy tells the boys (and Colin) the good news

"Tony explores"
Tony is followed by Colin the dog climbing the church tower

"On the road in Autumn"
The car and caravan travel towards a church

"The wrong caravan!"
Tony jumps into the wrong caravan!

The Terrier stands and begs with a bone nearby

The image used on the title page
of the car and caravan

"Patsy wins a prize"
Patsy (and Colin) collect the 5 shillings prize

"The prize monster"
Car and caravan are dressed up as a dragon for the carnival

"The red deer won't wait"
Four deer leaping a bush

The three children attend a pony fair

"The fun of the fair"
The children on the fairground swing-boats

"A pony bargain!"
A present for Mr. Carew

"Full speed around!"
The Merry-go-round

Original art

The family park under chestnut trees in a farmer's field!"

“Here's a pretty mess!”!"
The family wake to a flood around the car and caravan

"Rescued from the flood"!"
The children are rescued on horses


Other titles in the series:

The Caravan Family containing:

Monday, 13 March 2023

Raymond Sheppard and Our House on Wheels

Our House on Wheels cover
An idyllic scene

I recently wrote up a brief life of Mary Dorothea Hillyard Kelly and introduced the book The Caravan Family. That book contains three books one of which I wish to cover today: Our House on Wheels.

This book is the thinnest of the three titles but has some lovely Raymond Sheppard illustrations. All three books and the compiled version do not have page numbers. The stories are:

  1. Magic carpet
  2. Really Off!
  3. Another Caravan
  4. To The Sea
  5. The Cave Adventure
  6. Friends

"Good News!"
Mum brings letter to the table and three children look excited

Our House on Wheels title page
The car drives the caravan downhill on a  country road

Dad tells the children the holiday is cancelled but...

Paul said, "it's going to be real magic carpet!"

Tony and Colin, the dog look out the window in excitement

"Really in the country"
The three children swim in a stream

"Getting lunch ready"
Mum hands a roast chicken to her daughter

Paul comes out from behind a tree and spies an old gypsy caravan

"Paul makes new friends"

"Paul in the “corn house”"

 "Another halt by the wayside"

"What a place to play"
Patsy waves to the boys as they pick flowers

"Oh, Mummie, we went in a cave”
Patsy waves from the rowing boat to her Mum on the cliff

Patsy and her brother go crabbing with nets

"Exploring the caves"
The children row the boat into a cave

"Through the big woods"
The car comes uphill through the woods

Original art - notice bright colours!
"A shelter from the storm"
The two boys climb a ladder to a hayloft

 “Have you ever been in an aeroplane?”
The kids and dog talk with their new friend in the hayloft

 “I'm off the world looking at a map!”
The two seater prop aeroplane flies high

Paul kneels on the rear seat and looks out rear window

Endpaper: "A happy halt"

Other titles in the series:

The Caravan Family containing:

  • Our House on Wheels
  • Our Camping Holiday
  • Our Caravan