Gwen Raverat, Period Piece
Gwen Raverat is best-known for her glorious wood engravings, but in her childhood memoir Period Piece she created a perfect small masterpiece of another kind – a deliciously funny, affectionate and atmospheric picture of life in the small world of 19th-century academic Cambridge among the eccentric Darwin clan. Illustrated with Gwen’s own delightful drawings, it not only brilliantly captures a moment in time but also shows us the making of the artist Gwen was to become. As Rose Macaulay wrote when it was first published, it is ‘funny, witty, beautifully written, more than beautifully illustrated, everything such a book can be’.
Ernest Shepard, Drawn from Memory & Drawn from Life
The much-loved artist Ernest Shepherd, whose delicate and humorous illustrations will forever define the characters of Winnie-the-Pooh, and Mole, Ratty and Toad in The Wind in the Willows, grew up in London as the 19th century faded into the 20th. In Drawn from Memory, he tells, in words and enchanting pictures, the story of his happy middle-class childhood, beginning in 1887, the year of the Golden Jubilee when Ernest was 8 and already determined to be an artist like his father. Drawn from Life opens with the tragic death of his mother when he was 10 and describes the family’s brave recovery, Ernest’s time at the Royal Academy Schools, and his happy marriage to a fellow artist. Together these two small volumes form a vivid canvas filled with the vision of a gentler, more leisurely world which makes one long to return to it.
Charles Phillipson, Letters to Michael
Between the spring of 1945 and the autumn of 1947 Charles Phillipson wrote a series of 150 illustrated letters to his young son Michael, who had just started school. These delightful, quirky letters, designed to whet Michael’s appetite for reading, were done when Charles – a considerable artist who illustrated a number of children’s books – had already been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, but they are full of the lightness and humour he still found in everyday situations, and full of encouragement for Michael’s own efforts. Preserved by his wife and son after his death in 1974, these Letters to Michael give a most touching picture of the relationship between a father and his young son.
Letters to Michael | Introduction
My father Charles Phillipson would have been amazed and delighted to learn that his series of letters to me, written when I was a small boy, were to be published. No such thought would have occurred...Read more
For almost a decade there’s been one particular book we’ve been longing to reissue. Now at last, as we reach our tenth anniversary, we’ve got the opportunity to do so. When I wrote about it...Read more
Between the Lines
It is hard to know whether it is the featherlight words of A. A. Milne or the airy ‘decorations’ of E. H. Shepard that everyone has ever since loved the more, so perfect was their partnership ....Read more