Monday, 30 September 2013

Urgent Greetings with Vintage Style

Regular readers of this blog will know I'm something of a collector. Along with books, postcards and nursery china, I also collect vintage greetings cards. Anything with a cute dog or cat is a welcome addition to my collection. None of my cards are worth more than a few pounds, with the possible exception of one… but more of that later. 

The front of this card is very appealing but the inside is just odd! What on earth has the monkey got to do with anything and why is it sucking a dummy?

I do have a theory, but if you have a better one, do tell. I think the monkey is reminiscent of the Lawson Wood sketches from the 1930s and 40s. An orangutan called Gran’pop was one of his most popular characters so perhaps the card manufacture thought a monkey would make the card more attractive. I can't say I agree, but each to his own.
A Volume of Good Luck published by Valentine's.

This ‘dog and duck’ card is incredibly sweet, and I just love the foxgloves and the thatched cottage. 

The card with the little black cat and white heather reminds me of my dad. He was a great believer in ‘Lady Luck’ and usually had a sprig of lucky heather tied to the front of the car. He also kept several Cornish Pixies on the dashboard and a four-leaf clover in his driving licence. When I was old enough to drive he found a four-leaf clover for me - and that in itself was quite lucky!  

What child wouldn't love to receive this pretty card? Not only does it have the sweetest little dogs on the front it also hides a surprise inside…

Another doggy greeting – but this time the dogs are leaping out of the card. 

This is one of my favourite pop-up cards. I just love the expressions on the faces of the singing cats!

The printing of this card makes it look as if one dog is a mirror image of the other, but in fact, one dog is on the outside and the other inside.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, most of these cards cost only a few pounds, but if you collect known artists, the prices begin to climb. The Christmas card below is one of two Louis Wain pop up cards I bought at auction a few years ago. I went to the auction knowing I was going to bid and thinking I might have to pay a reasonable price, but I was surprised by just how much I did pay.

The week after the auction this appeared in the local press…

 It looks as though I wasn't the only one surprised at the price!   By selling one of the two cards I was able to recoup some of the money and add this card to my own collection. 

It’s a beautiful September morning in Somerset. Our garden is full of autumn colour… and fat spiders, my pet hate! I find myself drawn into the garden more and more as summer slips away.  I love this time of the year, when everything seems to enjoy a final flourish before dying back for the winter.

A purple cloud of Michaelmas daisies makes the perfect backdrop for the more showy dahlias

and yellow daises.

The apple tree is laden with fruit, 

and in a few short months, the cycle will begin again.

Mother Nature is truly amazing!

Whether the weather be fine,
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Or whether the weather be hot,
We'll weather the weather,
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not!

 Author: unknown

Happy October everyone!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Book of the Week; Hilda Boswell's Omnibus a Treasury of Favourites

This beautiful book is the work of the accomplished artist Hilda Boswell (1903–1976). Hilda was born in London on the 8th October, 1903. The daughter of an architect she studied at the Hornsey School of art and later the Regent Street Polytechnic. Working mostly in watercolour, she produced extremely detailed illustrations for her own work and that of other authors.

Hilda Boswell’s Omnibus, features a collection of best-loved nursery rhymes, fairy tales, stories, poems and verses. 

I wish I lived in a caravan, with a horse to drive, like a pedlar man!
Where he comes from nobody knows, or where he goes to, but on he goes.
His caravan has windows too, and a chimney of tin that the smoke comes through;
he has a wife, with a baby brown, and they go riding from town to town.

~From A Treasury of Favourite Nursery Rhymes ~

In winter I get up at night and dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer, quite the other way, I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see the birds still hopping on the tree,
or hear the grown-up people's feet, still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you, when all the sky is clear and blue,
and I should like so much to play, to have to go to bed by day?

~ From A Child's Garden of Verses ~

The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;
she shines on thieves on the garden wall,
on streets and fields and harbour quays,
and birdies asleep in the forks of the trees

~ From A Child's Garden of Verses ~

~ Illustration from The Snow Child by Nathaniel Hawthorne ~

As a child, Hilda spent long holidays at her uncle's home in Warwickshire, exploring the countryside, discovering nature for herself, filling endless sketch pads and acquiring the knowledge of insects, flowers, plants and fruits which she incorporated in her wonderful drawings.  "A child's mind must be stimulated and through the right illustrations this can be achieved. They want deftness and richness, something they can enlarge upon in their own imagination. When I work I forget that I am adult and let my memory go back to my childhood and I put all the thoughts and feelings which I had then into my drawings. I feel that you cannot hope to create an illustration to be appreciated by children if it is produced by an adult-thinking person at the time. You must be the thing you are illustration, put yourself in the shoes and socks of the character you are creating and try to think like the prince and princess if these are the subjects you are working."  This she surely achieved!

The illustration on the right is from Lucy's adventure in Narnia by C. S. Lewis

"I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?" said the spider to the fly.
"There are pretty curtains drawn around: the sheets are fine and thin;
And if you like to rest awhile, I'll snugly tuck you in!"
"Oh, no, no," said the little fly; "for I've often heard it said, they never wake again who sleep upon your bed!"

~From A Treasury of Poetry ~

They went to sea in a Sieve, they did, in a sieve they went to sea,
In spite of all their friends could say, on a winter's morn, on a stormy day,
In a sieve they went to sea!  Edward Lear

~From A Treasury of Poetry ~ 

Hilda Boswell's Omnibus a 253 page treasury of favourites including;

Hilda Boswell's treasury of nursery rhymes
Hilda Boswell's treasury of fairy tales
Hilda Boswell's treasury of verses
Hilda Boswell’s treasury of stories
Hilda Boswell’s treasury of poems

Hardback book and dust jacket published by William Collins in 1972.

This lovely treasury is now sold, thank you for your interest.

Further Reading:
Alan Clark, Dictionary of British Comic Artists, Writers and Editors, The British Library.
Alan Horne, The Dictionary of 20th Century Book Illustrators, Antique Collectors' Club.
I can also recommend a visit to Bear Alley

Thank you for your visit, I really appreciate it.

Update July 2016: All the books featured are now sold. 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.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Book of the Week: Alice In Wonderland illustrated by A. A. Nash

On the 4th July 1862, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson accompanied by Alice Liddell, her two sisters and the Rev. Robinson Duckworth, took a boat trip from Oxford to Godstow. During the trip, Charles narrated a story about a little girl called Alice and her trip underground. This was to be the basis for Alice’s adventures in Wonderland first published in July 1865, three years after the now-famous boat trip. 

John Tenniel illustrated the first edition but when the copyright on the illustrations expired in 1907, various other artists provided new artwork for Alice and its sequel through the looking-glass.

Alice is more popular than ever now, with collectors eagerly seeking editions illustrated by a diverse range of artists. The edition featured here is illustrated by A. A. Nash.   

While the original Alice (Alice Liddell) had short dark hair, Lewis Carrol gave 'his' Alice long hair, and Tenniel turned it fair! In this 1960s edition, A A Nash stuck with fair hair but styled it into a fashionable bob. The clothing also reflects a more up-to-date Alice with her blue check dress and white sandals.

In this illustration, a very confident looking Alice approaches a hookah smoking Caterpillar with human face and hands! 

Here Alice encounters The Duchess singing a lullaby and giving the baby a violent shake at the end of every line:

“Speak roughly to your little boy,
And beat him when he sneezes:
He only does it to annoy,
 because he knows it teases.”

I love this courtroom scene. "Consider your verdict," said the King. "No, No!" said the Queen. "Sentence first - verdict afterwards." "Stuff and nonsense!" said Alice loudly. "Off with her head!" the Queen shouted at the top of her voice. "Who cares for you?" said Alice. "You're nothing but a pack of cards!"
Alice in Wonderland illustrated by A.A Nash is now sold, thank you for your interest.

Did you know? Alice in Wonderland is frequently cited as one of the most influential and oft-quoted books after the Bible and the works of William Shakespeare.

I've always loved Alice and have read it many times over the years – but not everyone agrees – Michelle over at Vintage Cobweb has a very different view. 

Some previous Alice posts;  Alice in Wonderland illustrated by Marjorie Torrey here and Alice in Wonderland tea party here

Monday, 16 September 2013

Butterfly Babies

The postman delivered a parcel full of love today. Our gorgeous little granddaughters (and their lovely mummy and daddy) know how much we miss them & are always thinking of nice ways to make us feel better. Australia is an awfully long way away when you live in England as we do, but Facebook and the postman certainly help to bring it closer!

Zoe Rose

“Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have
sunshine, freedom and a little flower.” 
~Hans Christian Anderson~

Lilly Grace

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun and find your shoulder to light on, 
To bring you luck, happiness and riches today, tomorrow and beyond.
~Irish Blessing~

Lilly Grace

and Zoe Rose

Our beautiful 'butterfly babies' all dressed up for a wedding.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Book of the week; Walter Crane Slate and Pencil

This week's book of the week is a strange arithmetic book written and illustrated by Walter Crane.

Slate and Pencil – Vania; being the adventures of Dick on a desert island
Published by Marcus Ward & Co in 1885

In which young Dick buys a boat and taking a few necessaries, sets sail. But the wind and the weather take counsel against him and he finds himself cast up on a strange shore. The beach is made up of slates and pencils and so Dick sits down to write his sad story. At that very moment, several natives of the Island appear and take Dick to their King. Eventually, Dick is rescued and returned home.

Very early in life he was suited for a sailor

and, at the seaside, has thoughts of voyaging,

So he buys a boat

and sets sail.

But the wind and weather take counsel together,


Dick finds himself cast up on a strange shore,

composed principally of slates and pencils.

Then some strange figures suddenly appear,

but as they cannot come to an understanding

Dick is taken to their King, who, is engaged with an addition sum in his counting house.

Dick is shown into the parlour where the Queen offers him some honey

and sends him into the garden to help the maid do multiplication on the clothes line.

All that takes place is in strict accordance with the rules of Arithmetic.

But at the sight of a sail, Dick is very happy to go home!

I think this must be one of the oddest stories I've ever read!  The illustrations, however, are a joy.

Walter Crane (1845–1915) was an English artist and book illustrator. He is considered to be the most prolific and influential children’s book creator of his generation.  Reed more at Wikipedia

Walter Crane Slate and Pencil - Vania published in 1885 is now sold, thank you for your interest.

What do you make of this odd story?

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