Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Cecil Aldin painting book and a gay dog

I was lucky enough to find not one but two Cecil Aldin books last week. This beautiful edition of a gay dog (the story of a foolish year), and The Cecil Aldin painting book.

William Heinemann published a gay dog in 1905 later editions were re-named the Rascal.

From the moment this little bulldog puppy is taken home in a hansom cab, he finds himself in trouble.

This heart-warming tale set in Edwardian London follows a year of his life, as told by the dog himself. He is very fond of Pammy his new mistress but can't help getting into mischief. Silk stockings and nail polish are so much fun!

Visits to Ascot and Henley Regatta

end in tears.

When his mistress gets a part in a play, the little dog gets stage fright! Visits to Ostend lead him into all sorts of adventures and yet more trouble. In the end, it's decided a life in the country might suit him better. The little dog is sad to leave the gaiety of London but soon settles into a simpler way of life.

My second find was the Cecil Aldin painting book, engraved and printed by Henry Stone in 1915.

One of the paintings has been neatly completed, but the fact that it has survived at all is quite incredible.


Update July 2016: The featured books are now sold, thank you for your interest. March House books closed on my retirement in 2015, but I am still happily blogging here at March of Time Books. Your visits are always appreciated.


  1. A Gay Dog looks like such a cute book! And I love all of these illustrations, I'm a sucker for anything with dogs :)

    Megan @ Storybook Love Affair

  2. barbaraannefisher8 March 2012 at 12:08

    Hello Megan, It's extra cute! I'm a sucker for dog books too – and dogs! Cecil Aldin is one of my favourite dog illustrators.

  3. A Gay Dog is by far the cutest bulldog I have ever seen, much cuter than Churchill's real bulldog. Aldin's illustrations are all so lovely.

  4. barbaraannefisher8 March 2012 at 15:35

    Hello Alex,
    Bulldog puppies are cute, but they do tend to lose some of their good looks as they got older. Churchill, and his dog looked identical - or maybe all the photographs I’ve seen have been manipulated in some way!

  5. What fun books. I like the way the animals' coloring puts them to the front of everything else.

  6. I don't think I've come across these books before, but I love the look of "A Gay Dog" (I can't imagine a book being released today with that title). The story sounds delightful and the illustrations are wonderful too.

  7. Michelle Yardley9 March 2012 at 03:48

    How adorable is the face on that dog!

    Why are illustrations in older books so much...not sure of the right word to use - than they are today, I wonder if it's just the nostalgia thing.

    Never seen these books before Barbara, thanks for showing them.

    The great thing about this site is that it broadens my book searching and when I come across authors on here I've never heard of before it gets me doing some research.

  8. barbaraannefisher9 March 2012 at 10:06

    They are fun, glad you liked them.

  9. barbaraannefisher9 March 2012 at 10:31

    Hi Nikki-ann,it’s a great book and a lovely title, but you’re right no publisher would use it now. I think the new title (the rascal) suits him very well.

  10. barbaraannefisher9 March 2012 at 10:39

    Hell Michelle, I’m not sure of the word either, but I do know what you mean.

    I feel just the same about your site. I love the teddy bear book you are featuring this week. I've never seen it before, but it looks really pretty. If anyone wants to visit Micelle’s blog, it’s at

  11. Darlene Foster9 March 2012 at 17:21

    These books are adorable. The drawings are amazing. Imagine giving a book called "A Gay Dog" to a child today. They would roll on the floor laughing as the word 'gay' has such a different meaning now. It is interesting how the meaning of words can change over time.

  12. I love reading your blog. You find the most amazing books.

  13. barbaraannefisher9 March 2012 at 21:29

    Hello Darlene, it’s funny you should say that! I purchased the 'gay dog’ from an antique fair. The seller told me he would be glad to get rid of it because he was fed up of youngsters using their mobile ‘phones to take pictures to put on Facebook!

  14. barbaraannefisher9 March 2012 at 21:42

    Thank you Isabella, I’m glad you're enjoying reading my blog. I’ve just visited and followed you. Your blog is so pretty I know I'm going to enjoy it.

  15. I love these illustrations! I am learning so much from you. Check out my blog in a few days, I am finally going to get around to posting the Tag answers! Sorry I am so late with that, thanks again! ~ Diane

  16. Looking at the pictures from A Gay Dog made me laught out loud. That dog sure knows how to do the wrong thing at the wrong time (shake off water in front of the fancy ladies). He looks like a dog that can get into some mischief. :) I enjoyed looking at the illustrations. I can imagine that his work sells fast- the visuals really tell a story! What fantastic finds.

  17. Hi Barbara,

    I guess this would be another of those 'politically incorrect' books, if it were still in print today.

    The kind which would have some erstwhile, modern author rushing around in a frenzy, trying to re-write it, to fit the modern way of thinking.

    Why can't people accept that these are classic books and should be treated as such. They won't be in existence for much longer, so should be left in their original format, as they were intended to be read. Surely if you re-write them in modern language, then they are no longer the classic that they once were.

    The very thought that Enid Blyton books have been adapted and changed, to remove any references that are no longer considered to be politically correct, is no more than a heinous crime.

    Also the latest trend towards re-writing the likes of 'Pride and Prejudice' and making them modern day mystery books, as P.D. James has done, calling it 'Death Comes To Pemberley', is totally abhorrent.

    Anyway, rant over. I love the post and the beautiful book, you make some fantastic discoveries.

  18. barbaraannefisher10 March 2012 at 22:52

    Hello Diane, I always worry about passing tags or awards along, because I know it puts pressure on other people. On the other hand, it's nice to find out more about one another.

    I was really interested to read your post about Thidwick the big-hearted Moose and am very jealous about that cluttered basement!

  19. barbaraannefisher10 March 2012 at 23:05

    Hi Jess, I’m glad they made you laugh. They are fun illustrations. If you like ‘dog’ books, I can recommend ‘a dog day’ illustrated by Cecil Aldin and written by Walter Emanuel. It’s a day in the life of a dog, very funny but also touching.

  20. barbaraannefisher10 March 2012 at 23:18

    Hello Yvonne, I completely agree so please feel free to rant away! If I could write anywhere near as well as you do I would have said it myself! Thanks for calling in and expressing your views.

  21. Your blog is vibrant and brings back good memories from childhood; I'm glad I found it. I've just added it to the blogs I follow on Google reader.

  22. Hi Diane ~ Glad I found your blog. I'm a speech-language pathologist in a public school and am always looking for children's books. I will check in often. I found you on Book Blogs. I'm the one from Kick Back Moments....Peggy

  23. barbaraannefisher11 March 2012 at 12:05

    Hi Peggy, thanks for commenting and following. I enjoy Kick Back Moments and will be calling in often.

  24. barbaraannefisher11 March 2012 at 12:09

    Hello there, thanks for calling in. I’ve just visited your blog – what a brilliant idea! I love it and am also following you on Google reader. If anyone else wants to follow it's at

  25. Barbara, I do enjoy these Cecil Aldin pictures. The dogs (especially the one in 'A Gay Dog' ) look adorable. I love the Edwardian setting. Thanks for sharing these!

  26. barbaraannefisher12 March 2012 at 15:39

    Hi Claudine,
    I'm glad you enjoyed them. I feel Cecil Aldin manages to capture the expressions perfectly. You’ve only got to look at the ‘gay dog’ to see he is full of mischief!

  27. Very nice, here is a nice collection too:


I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...