Monday, 10 January 2022

Raymond Sheppard and Small British Mammals poster

Small British Mammals poster

Small British Mammals is plate #27 in a series of school posters I had not seen before. Previously I've shown Two Years in the Infant School (Box 1 Topics 1-63) by Enid Blyton and also Macmillan's Teaching in Practice for Infant Schools (Projects and pictures).

The mammals portrayed are: weasel, stoat and water vole in the first row; long tailed field mouse, dormouse, shrew, in the second row; harvest mouse, hedgehog, and mole in the third and finally the badger, otter, and hare. The poster measures 13.5" wide by 14" tall.

The only reference to this I could find was an old eBay sale mentioning a second black and white poster of "Goldfish and Queensland Salmon" - the latter appears odd to me for a UK school! The seller ran the headline  they were part of a set of 142 posters, which appears too big to me for any classroom purchase as others are in the 50s and 60s.

If I get any further information, I shall amend this entry.

Tuesday, 21 December 2021

Raymond Sheppard and the Christmas Crib

 We've looked at the two series at either side of Christmas 1957 which appeared in the children's comic Swift (from the Hulton Eagle stable) before. Today is the right time to wish all my readers a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

If you have some time on your hands you might like to reproduce the 6 part Christmas Crib - as published in Swift from 9 November 1957 to 14 December 1957 issues. Please excuse the colours being a bit off as I didn't scan these and don't own the comics. But I have added two photos I took of cuttings I've seen, so you can see how the colours should be!

and the two photos:

On the second of November 1957, "Animals and their young" ended, we then get the crib above until 14 December, followed by "Christmas dinner for the birds" and the robin Christmas card. In the new year, on 4 January 1958, the "Birds and their nests" series started.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Raymond Sheppard and Argosy Magazine (UK)

The Argosy magazine started in the USA, and you can read about it here, but as far as I know Sheppard never did any illustrations for this magazine. His drawings appeared in the UK version of Argosy published by Amalgamated Press, which was first published in June 1926 (by Cassells for the first year before AP took it on). The small pocket sized magazine was printed monthly on pulp paper through most of its life and featured stories from around the world. Latterly it began printing new stories. 

Tracking down illustrators in Argosy is hard enough when most of the time they are not credited, but during the Fifties there was a time where credits appeared in the contents page, but not all credits! I also found some illustrations re-used years after Sheppard died in 1958! So for the moment this is the most comprehensive listing of Sheppard's work in Argosy!

The earliest I've found so far is a story by Tom Hopkinson (it's likely the same Hopkinson who worked with Stefan Lorant on Lilliput and Picture Post) called "North of Midnight" about post-war Finland, and a construction engineer called Garrod whose objective is to replace three vital bridges destroyed during the war. His encounters with the Laplanders are the meat of the story and Sheppard illustrates a reindeer with full antlers and also a reindeer pulling a sledge.

Argosy January 1955 p.29

Argosy January 1955 p.43

Argosy January 1956 has a jungle story by David Walker called "Harry Black" which was serialised over three issues. The book was first published by Collins in 1956, so this is hot off the press! A film starring Stewart Granger was also created in 1958. Sheppard provides an image in Argosy (not the book)  of the head and front of a tiger coming through long grass and a profile of a tiger leaping, 

"This is a novel with atmospheric tension. The end impression [is] that of a first rate adventure against the sultry background of of a man-eating tiger. Black, a war hero, [faces his own cowardice]. Difficult reading at times, the [story is] told against an elusively presented past and a romance between Black and Tanner's wife. But hunting story fans will like it." ~ Kirkus Review

Argosy January 1956 p108

The above image is repeated on page 123 too. They are both interesting in that, even with the rough printing, they appear very 'scruffy' in my opinion. I almost wonder if they are reprints from something earlier.

Argosy January 1956 p.109

The two images above of the tiger also appear in the second instalment in February 1956 (the leaping tiger p.105 and the crouching tiger p. 143). I have not seen a copy of the March instalment and no illustrations are listed on the incomparable FictionMags Index (edited by William G. Contento and Phil Stephensen-Payne). 

Argosy January 1957 p.69

The January 1957 issue has an image on p.69 to accompany the beautiful story "The Christmas Miracle" by Paul Gallico that recounts the capture of a settler family by a band of Indians in pre-revolutionary America. The victims’ demise seems all but certain, but it’s the 24th December and miracles can happen… I don't need to say anything about Gallico as his stories are still in print as are those of the next author to be illustrated by Sheppard: H. E. Bates.

Argosy October 1957, pp.102-103

The story, "A Great day for Bonzo" warranted a headline on the cover. 

Argosy October 1957,Cover

 The H.E.Bates Companion tells us:

this novella-length piece is experimental in style. The narrator recalls a day-long adventure with two other children, in which they unintentionally find themselves involved in an ugly domestic conflict, with overtones of death and tragedy. A television adaptation (episode four in the 1974 series "Childhood") was directed by Michael Apted

Argosy October 1957 p.124

Argosy October 1957 p.143
Three children find themselves unwittingly at the center of an adult drama involving a woman, the man she wants to marry, and her angry, violent father. Bates brilliantly manipulates the point of view, keeping it limited to a child's perception yet fully developing the conflicts and passions the children do not comprehend. ~ H.E. Bates: A Literary Life, by Dean R. Baldwin 1987

Next we have a story from the Netherlands by Jan de Hartog, "Gaudy Palace".  de Hartog ran away from home when 10, we are told, later entering the Amsterdam Naval College and finally started writing short stories after being expelled "This school is not for pirates!" he was told. His adventures at sea gave him a lot of material. 

Argosy November 1957 p.69

This story is about the need to preserve a Governor's life in Tarakan, Borneo as he was the only person who spoke Dutch! The Doctor who attends encounters someone faking his illness, but why would the Sultan do that? 

The January 1958 issue of Argosy has an unusual double page spread topped with an illustration of two pigs on a picket fence and finished off with a sow and her piglets! The whole thing is reproduced here. 

Argosy January 1958, pp.62-63

Monday, 15 November 2021

Raymond Sheppard and The Man-Eating leopard of Rudraprayag by Jim Corbett (Part Two)

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.60

[Part One]

In the previous article, I showed the illustrations by Raymond Sheppard to the first half of "The Man-Eating leopard of Rydraprayag". Today I want to show the rest but also add a thing or two that might be of interest.

Tiger Hunting Corbett Gets His Leopard
Reviewed by Philo M. Buck, jr. [Chicago Tribune, 1948]
Jim Corbett has long been a myth, a living and friendly one, in the Himalayan villages of Kumaon and Garhwal. His book, "Man Eaters of Kumaon," recounts the story of his exploits with tigers. This book tells of his long search for a foe even more dangerous, the shadow that strikes only at night and whose cunning is beyond compare — a man-eating leopard. So mysterious is it in its comings and goings that simple villagers are convinced that it is human, a man with a taste for human blood, inspired by a bhut, and able to assume at will his savage form.
Philip Woodruff in his "The Wild Sweet Witch," reviewed by me in these columns, has one such story of this very leopard. For eight years this creature carried on - until Jim Corbett, the most famous cleanser of such plagues in our time, gave us one more tale that will banish sleep.
The leopard normally is not often seen in the Himalayas. But you are always aware of his presence. He will carry off your dog even when his walking at your side or sleeping beside you on the veranda. If he acquires a taste for human flesh his name is Terror; one is safe only behind double locked doors. This leopard officially accounted for 125 men, women and children in his career of crime. He cost Colonel  Corbett two expeditions, endless journeys following the animal's kills, long nights of vigil, sitting cramped in machans or in the forks of trees, knowing all the time that a leopard is better than a man at tree climbing. And the best of the story is that I know it is true.
For I knew Jim Corbett when we were boys in school in Naini Tal in Kumaon. It was then that he acquired his love for the Himalayan jungle and his knowledge of its creatures. And after a vacation he would tell us younger ones the stories of his lonely journeys when he studied its lore.

I presume by bhut, he is referring to a malevolent spirit (not the ghost chilli pepper renowned in the north-eastern areas of India). Throughout this book we hear how a spirit has caused the trouble (and in the last article I showed the tiger effigy being pushed into the river, hoping to rid the area of this spirit). Towards the end of this book Corbett talks about his friendship with the local pundit (a word from Sanskrit meaning meaning "knowledge owner" or "learned man") who is charge of sheltering pilgrims. he assures Corbett that he should be looking for a bhut.  A machan mentioned in the above review, is a hide, as in a bird or animal hide, a camouflaged shelter from which animals can be observed and a term which Corbett naturally uses a lot in his books as he sits over kills on the second day, as leopards are likely to return, if there is no disturbance in the area.  

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.62

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.63
Gin-traps are spring-loaded traps, illegal in the UK since 1958

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.69
Ibbotson and Corbett gets a leopard

It's interesting that Corbett didn't see himself as a writer as his stories still captivate. The leopard above was shot and paraded through the local villages, leading to many coming out of their houses, in the belief the right leopard had been caught. Corbett was not so sure. The following morning some men come to tell Corbett of another killing. It's obvious that by page 69 we are not finished, but the suspense works well even today! 

I wondered who the cameos of people are that appear on various pages - including the one below, and how Sheppard obtained portraits to draw from. perhaps this is the owner of the cow who was taken in Chapter 12?

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.71

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.72

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.79

The above is when Corbett and Ibbotson rush back to a house and bang on the door to be let in, having narrowly escaped disaster. the 12- 14 men inside give no reply, presumably scared like the rest of the villagers after dark. Corbett threatens to set alight to the thatch but is let in before that need arises. 

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.82

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.85

Corbett writes so well that after tension we get diversionary stories, such as his watching a hunter on a distant peak chasing a boar, which breaks through undergrowth to swim the raging river. Or, his having heard there was good fishing to be had in the Mandakini River, and how he watches some locals using a net in a waterfall to catch fish. He then places himself at a pool and catches a big mahseer - a carp. Local are amazed and help him and the image below shows the boy who asked Corbett if he, the boy could parade it before the people of bazaar who "will think that I have caught this great fish, the like of which they have never seen".

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.90

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.95

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.102

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.106

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.107

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.115

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.127

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.128
Corbett mentions how animals in the jungle help him to track. The kakar is mentioned barking a lot (a muntjack deer), pheasants, cry out at the leopard's approach and above we see monkeys. 
The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.133
Gin-traps a

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.134
I like to think this is the salt and gur packman

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.140
Another diversion via a hunt for Red Kashmir deer

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.153
An instance of resistance - although the woman looses a leg

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.160
Corbett's man-eater meets another leopard

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.173
Two snakes fighting - one is 7 foot long

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.190
The ending

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - Endpapers showing map

I found a few original sources which mention the leopard - this one is easiest to read - although it gets Ibbotson's name wrong!

Englishman's Overland Mail 20 May 1926

Corbett and the leopard

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag was first published in India in 1947 and 1948 in England. The first Sheppard illustrated version of this title was Oxford University Press, 1954. It was reprinted in an abridged form in Man against Man-Eaters (with 8 illustrations by Raymond Sheppard appearing from Man-eaters of Kumaon and The Man-eating Leopard of Rudraprayag, -thanks Jerry Jaleel of Safari Books, for the information) - Oxford University Press, 1954. It has been reprinted several times.

The spot where the Rudraprayag Leopard was killed, and the Rigby .275 Rifle used by Corbett to kill the man-eater
(courtesy of Outdoor Life Magazine, NewYork and Jerry Jaleel).
 For a bibliography of Corbett's writings head over to Wikipedia. But be warned there are loads of editions published in many English editions, in the UK, USA and India, many of which do not have the illustrations by Sheppard. 

 Finally there are many Facebook groups on Corbett and his writings, and this one is a favourite

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Raymond Sheppard and The Man-Eating leopard of Rudraprayag by Jim Corbett (Part One)


The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - Cover

In a previous article I mentioned that Merlin Unwin had reprinted Jim Corbett's book Man-Eaters of Kumaon. I see that they have now published Duff Hart-Davis' biography of Corbett, Hero of Kumaon which I haven't seen beyond their own webpage. It has a cover, taken from Man-Eaters of Kumaon which has been coloured in and I see there are other images from the earlier book too. This reminded me it's time to share more of Sheppard's illustrations in Corbett books. 

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayearlier ag - Frontispiece

So this time I'm looking at The Man-Eating leopard of Rudraprayag. It was first published in the Uk in 1948 by Oxford University Press. Here is what the Times Literary Supplement said of the newly illustrated version of 1954 which features Raymond Sheppard's artwork:

In the already famous Man-Eaters of Kumaon Colonel Corbet! told of his battles with many man-eating tigers. The present book gives an absorbing account of his prolonged and hard-won campaign against a single leopard, an animal which outdoes tigers in cunning and ferocity.  Roaming over an area of 500 square miles, the Rudraprayag leopard brought terror to the  inhabitants of Garhwal for eight years, and year after year all efforts to kill it failed. On and off, Jim Corbett stalked it during the last two years of its career, finally destroying it at the end of an uninterrupted ten week pursuit. This new edition, with drawings by Raymond Sheppard, should bring The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag to every boy's bookshelf. It is an intensely exciting story which gains in effect by the simple and unaffected manner of its telling.

On the 2 April 1951, MacDonald Hastings reviewed the earlier book on the BBC Light Programme and from Monday 30 July 1951 till Friday 10 August  (at 11.40) the BBC Home Service had a 20 minute serial (of 9 parts) of the book, read by Arthur Bush with these titles for each part - some may look familiar, having been taken from the chapter headings:

  1. Terror in Garhwal
  2. The First Kill
  3. A Holy-Man Tries Magic
  4. The Hunters Hunted
  5. Cyanide Fails to Kill
  6. The Gin Trap
  7. A Ventriloquial Effort
  8. Leopard Fights Leopard
  9. The End of the Man-Eater

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - Title page

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - Contents
There are 8 more chapters

The endpapers have a map of the region and the recorded kills by the famous leopard between 1918 and 1926, but I can't find who drew it. An earlier edition (without Sheppard's drawings) show an image of a leaping leopard in the top right corner above the map and the kills are highlighted in red!

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.1
These are the red monkeys on the Lachman Jhula suspension bridge

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag -p.5

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.8
These was used as a cover motif on a later printing

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.9

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.13
The leopard left all the goats alone but dragged away the sleeping boy

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.26
A crowd were surprised when the cornered leopard sprang through them

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.27
Corbett and men gather thorn bush to use as a fence

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.29

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.30

I hope this is a portrait of the bridge-keeper who thought Corbett was wasting his time

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.34

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.35
Foolish pilgrims insist on sleeping outdoors

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.38
One of the few suspension bridges across the Alaknanda River

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.41

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.42
A tethered goat as bait

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.47
The moment Corbett gets so close, but...

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.49
Indian rooster

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.50

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.55
"...the bridge was only crossed by one living thing - a jackal"

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.56
The 'holy man'

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag - p.59
The crowd pushes the effigy of a tiger (not a leopard!!)
into the river hoping the evil spirit will enter it and be gone!

PART TWO coming soon