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Showing posts from July, 2009

Mary Gernat

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Mary Gernat was probably one of the most prolific cover artists of the 1960s, and her sketchy, energetic style is probably familiar to nearly every child who bought a paperback book in the 1960s. The range of titles she provided covers for was wide: from Enid Blyton’s St Clare’s, Mallory Towers and The Mystery of... series through countryside stories like Monica Edwards to Malcolm Saville’s adventures. It’s probably fair to say she is better known as a cover artist than as an illustrator, although she did illustrate many children’s books: as illustrator of Sheila McCullagh’s Pirate and other early reader series, her illustrations were probably an intrinsic part of many children’s early reading efforts.

She had a very distinctive, sketchy style, which was well suited to situations full of action. I am particularly fond of her cover for the 1960s Armada printing of I Carried The Horn, which I think wonderfully captures the awful tension of the moment. Mary Gernat was good at capturing t…

Stanley Lloyd

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Stanley Lloyd is probably better known for his illustrations for Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers series, for which he did all the first edition illustrations than he is for his work on pony books. His background was, however, thoroughly horsy. He was the brother of the artist Thomas Ivester Lloyd, and uncle of John Ivester Lloyd. John's The People of the Valley was a real family affair, with John writing the story and Thomas and Stanley between them doing the illustrations.




The majority of Stanley Lloyd's published work featured horses. He started his career doing magazine illustration for The Detective Magazine, and later for Woman’s Magazine, but his most iconic illustrations are those he did for Primrose Cumming’s Silver Snaffles. Knight, when they republished the book as a paperback, cut the illustrations entirely, but they are one of the things that made the book so magical for so many readers. When Fidra Books reissued Silver Snaffles, all the original illustrations were inc…

Janet Rising: The Word on the Yard (The Pony Whisperer 1)

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Janet Rising: The Word on the Yard (The Pony Whisperer 1)
Hodder Children’s Books: £5.99

Information on Janet Rising





I had a bit of time to spare before I caught the train back from Edinburgh recently, so I wandered into Waterstones. I already had a couple of charity shop finds to read - Dervla Murphy’s Through Siberia by Accident, as well as, lick lips, Sherbatov’s The Arabian Horse in case I finished that, so I wasn’t short of reading matter. There’s always something though in the publishing world that slips you by , and in Waterstones I found the first of the The Pony Whisperer series by Janet Rising. Normally I know what’s coming out, but this one completely sneaked under my radar: probably because the most recent Pony Magazine I’ve read recently has been from 1969. Janet Rising, the author, is the editor of Pony Magazine (though if she’s the same person, she also contributed a couple of short stories to the Annual in the 1970s), and I imagine the book’s been promoted to death in th…

And yet more fancy dress..

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The 1963 Pony Annual decided to give its readers a few ideas to go on for their own fancy dress classes: Lieut Col C E G Hope, the editor, was often asked for ideas, so wrote an article with illustrations from the 1962 Ponies of Britain Show (and you will know from my previous blog post just what comedy gold that was).

I looked at this one for some time in bewilderment before it occurred to me to look at the caption and I could think of nothing whatsoever that this could represent, except possibly something to do with flying as the human seems to have flying goggles. Any ideas?





And would those ideas have included an Abominable Snowman? For this is what Miss A King and Shadow (who was only two) were. This was described as "a severe test for a young pony." Looking at it, I can see that Shadow was the Abominable Snow Pony but I still can't work out what his owner was. This next is from Horse and Pony Illustrated, 1955, and is proof that the sixties weren't the only decade…

A bit more fancy dress

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By special request from Vanessa, because they made her laugh - here are the other Fancy Dress photos from the Ponies of Britain Magazine, 1970. I think she could probably do with a laugh, after all the work at the Fidra Gallery (which now I've seen it I can tell you is fantastic - well, well worth a visit) and having a guest, ie me, over the weekend too.

I'm afraid the cream has already been blogged, but here are the rest:

Mrs E H Parsons - I'm assuming this is the pony book author E H Parsons - and yes, she did, she really did, sew every button on herself. The pony is Garth Remus, one of her famous pair of New Forest ponies, once lent to the Queen. For this effort (the costume I mean, not the lending) she was Very Highly Commended.




This is the Millfields Riding School, Newmarket - "yet another winner .... with a Tyrolean group complete with genuine imported Hafflinger ponies and the whole party in authentic national costume." They won the Winifred Spooner Challenge…

The changing face of Jill

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I actually had no idea when I started reading the Jill books that a. Black Boy was actually supposed to be black, and b. Jill was not born in the 1960s. This does show just what an impact illustrators make on us. To many, many people, Black Boy will always be a piebald, and that is all down to Bonar Dunlop. He illustrated the first Knight Jill paperbacks in the 1960s, and provided internal illustrations for three titles. When these books were published, Black Boy became a piebald in the text as well. He remained piebald in every edition after that, and so 40 years' worth or so of Jill readers have a piebald Black Boy galloping about their imaginations.




By the time I’d actually bought all the books and finished the Jill series, I had realised that there were other ways of looking at Jill, as the versions I found included some of the old Armada paperbacks, illustrated by Caney. Caney’s Jill was quite a different creature to Bonar Dunlop’s – much less sophisticated but with a charm …