As you may know, we’re massive fans of children’s book illustrations. We have vintage books in our collection by Miroslav Sasek, Bill Charmatz and Alain Grée amongst others. One illustrator we’ve admired for a long time, but don’t actually own any of his books, is Brian Wildsmith.
Wildsmith (who died in the summer of 2016) was an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator with a large portfolio of work behind him. His books were playful but educational at the same time and covered subjects such as ABCs, birds and other animals, fables and bible stories.
In an interview for the Independent newspaper in 2010, Brian Wildsmith explained his ethos:
[Before ABC] the text was the most important thing and pictures would just accompany it, diagrammatically explaining what was going on in the words. But I could limit my text so the illustrations explained what actually happened. And not just the physical event of what was happening, but the vision of the people or the animals or the landscape around them. I was expressing in colour the wonder and beauty of the world in which we live, which had never happened before, and would have been difficult to explain in words for children.
Some of his books are still in production, however, if you’re like us and prefer vintage copies – despite them sometimes being ‘read worn’ – there are always examples available on Etsy and eBay. We’re after a 1st edition of his Animal Gallery which teaches lots of the collective nouns like ‘a corps of giraffes’, ‘an array of hedgehogs’, ‘a herd of seahorses’ and ‘a troop of kangaroos’.
Abe Books | Amazon | Hive
Antonio Frasconi (1919 – 2013) was an illustrator best known for his woodcut prints, especially the ones in his award-winning 1950s children’s book, The House That Jack Built, a picture book in two languages. and See and Say, a picture book in four languages. He often produced books in multiple languages; namely English, Italian, French and Spanish. A great way to learn a new language – whatever your age may be!
Frasconi was born in Argentina, grew up in Uruguay and, aged 26, moved to the USA. In addition to his work for children he produced very political works on subjects such as the Vietnam War and ‘Los Desaparecidos’ (The disappeared), the people tortured and killed during the Uruguayan Dictatorship in the 197s and 80s.
As well as his own books, he designed numerous covers and illustrations for the works of other authors and poets including:
- Dylan Thomas – Reading a Child’s Christmas in Wales | Narrating Under Milk Wood (LP records)
- Herman Melville – On the Slain Collegians
- Walt Whitman – Overhead the Sun
- Jan Wahl – The Little Blind Goat
- Ruth Krauss – The Cantilever Rainbow
- Henri Pirenne – Medieval Cities: Their Origins and the Revival of Trade
- André Gide – Strait is the Gate | If It Die
- Glenway Wescott – 12 Fables of Aesop
- Titus Burkhardt – Alchemy
Invaluable | Pinterest | Moma | Amazon
We’ve got a slight twist for this month’s Pick of the Pads. It’s more a work space than a living space, but with Easter round the corner, the egg theme swayed it.
It’s the studio workspace of Tony Ladd – the ‘Egg Man’ that was in the April 2014 issue of the Homes & Antiques Magazine magazine.
He’s a wildlife artist specialising in British birds. He creates stunningly realistic, hand-cast, hand-painted egg specimens.
His workspace is a self-built, oak-framed wooden studio situated in his garden on the Sussex coast.
We love all the wooden banks of drawers & shelving…
…filled with jars, brushes, books, artefacts and references to nature.
It’s both homely & fascinating – such an inspiring space!
We bought some vintage metal filing drawers at auction last month – these lovely vintage travel maps were stored inside.
The covers immediately caught our eye, with illustrations by French artist Jean Colin. Born in 1912, he’s best known for his advertising posters from the mid 20th century. In addition to Shell, he did artwork for many prominent companies such as Cinzano, Air France, Kiwi Shoe Polish, Marchal and Perrier – and won many awards for his designs.
These Shell guides for various regions of France date from the 1950s/60s.
The maps inside are very attractive too – colourful & detailed, but clear to read.
We’d spied them inside the drawers, but a nice little bonus all the same!
We bought these two fabulous paintings at auction recently.
They’re interior scenes with a very distinctive style. Our attention was grabbed from across the large saleroom.
The items in these room settings don’t scream 1960s/70s, but the style of painting somehow does.
The artist is Colin Ruffell. Born in 1939, he has been a professional artist for nearly 50 years and has exhibited all over the world.
We love the composition, colour & tones of these works…
…also the textural quality with the bold application of paint.
Don’t you just love the bottle & glass – or the plates on the dresser?
The artist is still working today and we’ve been perusing his website recently. There are originals, prints… books too.
We’re still drawn to his still lives with their naive style, but also love his impressionist depictions of London & Brighton.
image credit: Julie Klima
A new discovery (at least for us!) this week is this fantastic artwork. It’s called “Cartonlandia” and is the work of Mexican American artist Ana Serrano. You can’t tell from this image, but it’s HUGE – well over 5 foot tall! Have a look at her blog to see the making process.