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.

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