Blackie and Son Limited had its origins in educational books and partworks sold door-to-door in the early 19th Century. In my search for Raymond Sheppard artwork in books I discovered that he did something in Book Four of this series called Drama Merry-Go-Round.
I have copies of Book One and Two (see my next article) and know that a Four exists. But how large the series was I don’t know. There are some lovely illustrations – no credits as was usual, but hopefully you can still enjoy them. Do comment if you think you recognise a style form the period of these books. I have not copied every illustration just those I liked.
Eric Newton, who edited these books might have apparently been a pseudonym for Christensen Frederick George Newton.
The title pages state:
Head Master, Blackhorse Road Junior School, Walthamstow;
Lecturer in School Drama for the Speech Fellowship,
Essex County Council, Middlesex County Council etc.
I can’t find anything under his longer name, but Eric Newton was also the name of an art critic for the Guardian and the Times, who broadcast on the radio on the subject of art. What’s interesting is that the British Library list, under “Eric Newton”,14 books attributed to him or to which he contributed and state his birth date as 1904. The latest book publication date is 1964.
Newton states in the Introduction that the books are aimed at 7-8 year olds. Each has 88 pages and have that cloth linen covering that school texts had when I was a kid. Presumably we all forgot to wash our hands before reading!
The ‘other’ Eric Newton is listed on Who’s Who as having received a CBE in 1964. “Born 28 April 1893; married 1st, 1915, Isabel Aileen Vinicombe; two s; 2nd, 1934, Stella Mary Pearce; died 10 March 1965” His obituary appears in the Guardian. I’m not suggesting they are the same, I just wanted to note that there are two gentlemen published who may get confused. Hopefully this helps someone in the future!