Monday, 5 July 2021

Raymond Sheppard - By Beckoning Pathways


By Beckoning Pathways - Contents page header

Today's offering is a lovely school reading book from the 1940s: Adventures in Storyland IV: By Beckoning Pathways. The copy I have has a dedication on a prize certificate dated 1945 and the series was published by Oliver and Boyd (no relation to myself, that  know!). Oliver & Boyd was founded in 1807 by Thomas Oliver and George Boyd and they published in Edinburgh and focussed on educational books and medical publishing. After multiple takeovers they closed their Edinburgh publishing operations in 1990.

I've included the full Contents page at the bottom of this article. You'll see that there are poems, stories, factual pieces etc.  and Sheppard has illustrated 36 black and white drawings covering those genres. 

The first is "Mice and Men" and has three images. The first of an older man reading a paper at a table with cheese on a plate. The second shows three mice crawling on floor over the man's shoe. The last a delightful portrait of two mice - one cleaning its whiskers


By Beckoning Pathways - "Mice and men" p.9

By Beckoning Pathways - "Mice and men" p.13

By Beckoning Pathways - "Mice and men" p.16

The next two come from a Constance Holme piece showing "she put her hand to the curtain for the last time and drew back".

By Beckoning Pathways - "Home" p.20

The second shows the view through the window:

By Beckoning Pathways - "Home" p.26

The poem by Robert Herrick "A thanksgiving to God for His house" has a pastoral header panel showing a mill, a church and a cottage

By Beckoning Pathways - "A thanksgiving to God for His house" p.26

The next three accompany a letter from Rev. William Cowper to Rev. John Newton (the famous converted slave captain who fought against the trade in people after his conversion) and Rev. William Unwin. The first drawing of a running hare is an image Sheppard has drawn several times.

By Beckoning Pathways - "A Poet's Pets" p.32

 The second is a cute gathering of kittens but with the addition of a viper!

By Beckoning Pathways - "A Poet's Pets" p.35

Despite the black and white nature of these illustrations, I can immediately spot the goldfinches in the next image as we get these gorgeous birds visiting our feeders every day. Such calm feeders, beautiful birds with a lovely trilling song

By Beckoning Pathways - "A Poet's Pets" p.38

 Now cast your mind back to the exciting stories of the Greek myths and legends learned at school and the story of Ulysses. "Ulysses in the cave of Cyclops" has two Sheppard illustrations and both bring back that excitement as my teacher read the story out loud, where imagined scenes are normally more exciting than illustrations - but not in this case!

By Beckoning Pathways - "Ulysses" p.54

By Beckoning Pathways - "Ulysses" p.67

I've written extensively about Raymond Sheppard's drawings for Seal Morning. And even showed two other sketches of a running hare, like the one above. We now have "The Story of the Seal" in which two accompanying illustrations show how even back in the 1940s, Sheppard's time at London Zoo, sketching, paid dividends.

 By Beckoning Pathways - "The story of the seal" p.69

 By Beckoning Pathways - "The story of the seal" p.77

The next illustration reminds me of  Sheppard's rural cameos in English Cavalcade. The first showing a cottage in the snow

By Beckoning Pathways - "The Little Postboy" p.78

By Beckoning Pathways - "The Little Postboy" p.85

By Beckoning Pathways - "The Little Postboy" p.90

I often feel sorry for Jenny our local postie when it's raining - as it does from time to time in Lincolnshire! - but what she does, looks like nothing compared to this! "The Little Postboy is a Swedish story - thus the sleighs and snow!

 Lastly, talking about rain,"Weather in the West of Scotland" opens with the line "You've probably heard it rains oftener in the West than the East of Scotland..." and talks about the Atlantic winds and peaks on the West coast. 

 By Beckoning Pathways - "Weather in the West of Scotland" p.99

That's half of the illustrations covered, next time we'll look at the rest and I'll say something about this rare series.

Contents Page 1

Contents page 2

Sunday, 13 June 2021

Raymond Sheppard and Children's Hour (Part Two)

The Children's Hour Annual 1937

Children's Hour Annual 1937
For my previous article on Raymond Sheppard and Uncle Mac and the Children's Hour Annual 1936, see here. As I was tracking down information for my own interest, I decided to create an article with a gallery of Children's Hour Annuals (and its associated title BBC Annual) on my other blog. As a result of the latter, Tim Ahern got in touch and told me about a missing dustjacket image - which he had. I was excited to re-visit this area as it gave me a chance to trawl the Internet again for other images that might have appeared - so I updated the other article.

What's this got to do with Sheppard? Well, I'm ashamed to say, even when Tim sent me the image, I didn't realise it was Raymond Sheppard's work for the third Children's Hour Annual! Tim had to point out to me the signature!

So for your delectation and delight (now I sound like Leonard Sachs!) I've scanned the whole cover 

Children's Hour Annual 1937 whole cover

Tim has given me the opportunity to follow up on my promise from my previous Sheppard article to write about his work in this 1937 Annual in which he illustrated 3 stories plus that cover!

"Reminiscences" by Commander Stephen King-Hall has two Sheppard illustrations and the intro is worth recording here for fellow researchers

Children's Hour Annual 1937 p.11
 Sheppard's first illustration reminds me so much of a story by John Wyndham, "Pawley's Peepholes"
Children's Hour Annual 1937 p.13
He tried but stuck half-way, much to the joy of the crowd

Children's Hour Annual 1937 p.16
It discovered after about the seventh or eighth fence it could
generally get round the course without the rider on its back

The Policeman stuck in a hole in the ground has some nicely observed figure work. In the second illo, Sheppard has definitely got to grips with his animal drawings too!

The second story is "Adam and the bear cub" by H. Mortimer Batten. Page 60 has a short biography 

Children's Hour Annual 1937 p.60

Children's Hour Annual 1937 p.65
He had just time to see the bear clutch her cub by the neck

A couple of years later Sheppard found himself drawing bears for a children's story "The bear and the baby" by C. G. D. Roberts for Odhams' "Golden Gift Book" in 1939

The third story he illustrates is "Jimmy rides the range" by Escott North


Children's Hour Annual 1937 p.145

 Children's Hour Annual 1937 p.148
“Jimmy, this is Guy Weadick, one of my friends”

Children's Hour Annual 1937 p.150
Suddenly the pony exploded into action
Children's Hour Annual 1937 p.154
In thirty seconds the man was thrown

Monday, 3 May 2021

Raymond Sheppard and Swift Comic: Birds and their nests (Part Two)

Last time started on the Birds and their nests series from the Swift comic, so here are last images drawn by Raymond Sheppard from that book and the missing one.

p.41 Kingfisher

p.43 Lapwing - or Pee-wit

p.45 Long-tailed Tit

p.47 Magpie

p.55 Mute Swan

p.63 Reed Warbler

p.65 Rook

Because I always have trouble telling my crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws apart, I'm adding the Swift presentation for the above too. So far I have grasped that rooks have lighter beaks than the others mentioned!

Swift 4 January 1958

p.71 Song Thrush

p.79 Wren

The one that did not appear in this title when reprinting the series was the Kestrel

Swift 15 March 1958 The Kestrel

Now as an extra special treat are two more that I haven't mentioned yet as they appeared at the start of the series - the first on 21 December 1957

Swift 21 December 1957 Christmas dinner for the birds

Swift 28 December 1957 A Christmas card for your shelf

There are couple of other similar images by Sheppard but I'll save them for another day. Meanwhile I should say, similar to Animals and their young, there are images in the Birds and their nests book that are not drawn by Sheppard. Tom Adams' run began on 24 May 1958 with the Skylark and went through to 11 November 1958 with the Ruff. The others in the book not by Sheppard are:

  • Avocet
  • Common Tern
  • Cormorant
  • Crossbill
  • Cuckoo
  • Dartford Warbler
  • Eider Duck
  • Goldcrest
  • Golden Oriole
  • Goldfinch
  • Mallard
  • Mandarin Duck
  • Moorhen
  • Nightingale
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Redstart
  • Ruff
  • Skylark
  • Swallow
  • Swift
  • Tawny Owl

Monday, 5 April 2021

Raymond Sheppard and Swift Comic: Birds and their nests (Part One)

Cover for Birds and their nests

Back in 2014, David Slinn helped me with first-hand information on the two series in the comic, Swift which Raymond Sheppard illustrated. The first I presented was "Animals and their young", now it's time for "Birds and their nests"

I've scanned the following from this reprint title from 1962 by Longacre Press. It matches the Animals book in size and colour but interestingly the title of the series is different

Here's the index to show you what appears and just like the previous book there are one or two images missed out - for what reason, we have no idea. Each image appeared on the right hand page with a description of the bird on the left hand page - thus the cover image's description appears at the back - here.

Birds and their nests p.80

Below are the issue dates for which Sheppard images appeared in the original comic with the 'missing' image highlighted which you'll find at the end :

4 Jan 1958The Rook
11 Jan 1958The Song Thrush
18 Jan 1958The Mute Swan
25 Jan 1958The Blue Tit
1 Feb 1958The Lapwing
8 Feb 1958The Green Woodpecker
15 Feb 1958The Magpie
22 Feb 1958The Wren
1 Mar 1958The Heron
8 Mar 1958The Blackbird
15 Mar 1958The Kestrel
22 Mar 1958The Chaffinch
29 Mar 1958The Jay
5 Apr 1958Long-tailed Tit
12 Apr 1958The Kingfisher
19 Apr 1958The Golden Eagle
26 Apr 1958The Black-headed Gull
3 May 1958The Great Crested Grebe
10 May 1958The Reed Warbler
17 May 1958The Barn Owl

p.5 Barn Owl

p.7 Blackbird

To illustrate how these appeared with some text, here's the example from Swift 8 March 1958

Swift 8 March 1958

p.9 Black-headed gull

p.11 Chaffinch

p.27 Golden Eagle

p.33 Great Crested Grebe

p.35 Green Woodpecker

p.37 Heron

p.39 Jay
Part Two to follow soon