Margaret Tarrant and The Littlest One

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Recently I bought a book for my wife but have no idea where now! Still I wanted to share the details in case anyone was interested.

We have both loved Cecily Mary Barker¬† since we were kids (no we didn’t know each other at that time!) but when we first got married we had posters on our walls and later bought two Margaret Tarrant pictures! I always thought of her artwork as ‘insubstantial’ yet cute. But the two we bought still inspire me when I look at them. They are both at the top of this post and the reproduction does not do them justice.

Anyway enough of my memories.

The Littlest One was written by Marion St John Webb and you can read more about the authoress on the wonderful March House Books website. I found I had bought the third one in the series “The Littlest One Again” first published in 1923, so I’d bought a very cheap first edition! But it was the pictures which grabbed me. Here they are.

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Drama Merry-Go-Round by Eric Newton

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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.

DramaMerry-Go-Round_Book1_p19I 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.

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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.

DramaMerry-Go-Round_Book1_p24-25I 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.

DramaMerry-Go-Round_Book1_p28-29Newton 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!

DramaMerry-Go-Round_Book1_p30-31The ‘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!

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Stuart Tresilian

You can’t do better than read Steve Holland’s excellent blog article on Stuart Tresilian (1891-1974). I trip over his work all the time as I delve into 1950s magazines and children’s books. But it was these that caught my eye as they have such a strong line, colour and pose.

All the pictures below were published as large posters for Infant Schools in a series called Macmillan’s Easy Study Series or “The Children’s Nature Books” as it says on the title page of the accompanying books. The series was edited by E. J. S. Lay (or to give him his full name Edward John Stanley Lay) and these pictures came from the title My book of animals and trees by Kate Harvey & E. J. S. Lay, 1943

To see more of the series read my article on Raymond Sheppard.

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Cover by Raymond Sheppard

Plate 1: Gnawing animals

Plate 1: Gnawing animals

Plate 3: Gnawing animals II

Plate 2: Gnawing animals II

Plate 3: Frogs, Toads and Newts

Plate 3: Frogs, Toads and Newts

Plate 4: Flesh eating animals

Plate 4: Flesh eating animals

Plate 5: Insect eating animals

Plate 5: Insect eating animals

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Plate 6: Lizards and snakes