Friday, 30 April 2010

"Great Grandmother Goose" by Helen Cooper, illustrated by Krystyna Turska (published by Hamish Hamilton, London 1978)

This is another great book I was lucky to find recently with some amazing illustrations by Krystyna Turska (b.1933). Turska was born in Poland and came to Britain in 1948 after escaping from a Nazi concentration camp in Russia. (more details on this website: ). Her book "Pegasus" got a commendment for the Kate Greenaway Medal in 1970 and two years later she was awarded the Greenaway Medal for "The Woodcutter's Duck"(Hamish Hamilton,1971). Just brilliant and imaginative line illustrations with lovable and funny characters. I will be posting some more from this book soon.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

"A Greek Literature Anthology - 1961" (Athens,1961)

I inherited this book from an uncle many years ago. He was running a kiosk selling newspapers and magazines for decades (from the 1930s to the 1980s) and collected thousands of books, periodicals etc of that period which (luckily) was passed on to me after his death!

I am really fond of this book because of the texture of the paper, the beautiful graphics for the titles and typefaces (you can see and feel the letterpress embossed on the pages) as well as the illustrations and stories. Here's only a small taste of what is inside the book. Every page spread is different than the one before - it somehow conveys the short-lived optimism of the early sixties in Greece, the romance about its past, and the blissful ignorance of what was about to happen by the end of that decade...

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

"Jack & The Beanstalk" Nursery Stories chosen and edited by Kathleen Lines and illustrated by Harold Jones (published by Oxford University Press, 1960

Harold Jones (1904-1992) was a British painter, wood engraver and print maker. He started illustrating books in the 1930s with superb pen and ink drawings delicately coloured and with cross-hatched tones. There are quite a few examples of his work and a small biography on this excellent website: Interestingly there is a display of another book he did in collaboration with Kathleen Lines, "Noah and the Ark"(1961). Among the many writers he illustrated for were Walter de la Mare, Charles Kingsley, Oscar Wilde and Lewis Caroll. Another website with some more information on Jones is:

And this is Goldilocks or "The Story of the Three Bears".

I love the attention paid to the architectural details and interior of the bears' cottage - you almost feel the intrusion into their home!

Friday, 23 April 2010

"Pilgrim's Progress" by John Bunyan, Published by Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, London 1883 (Illustrated by Gordon Browne), part 2

Just a few more pictures from this beautifully illustrated book by Gordon Browne. According to Wikipedia he was the son of H.K. Browne (known as "Phiz") who was Charles Dickens' illustrator. He became much more accomplished than his father though and illustrated many children's books by authors like G.A. Henty, Juliana Horatia Ewing, Frederic William Farrar, Andrew Lang, L.T. Meade, E. Nesbit and others.

The dark figure in the background does remind me of Gruffalo a bit! So many weird details in this book.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

"Pilgrim's Progress" by John Bunyan, Published by Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, London 1883 (Illustrated by Gordon Browne)

No, these are not the creations by our outgoing(hopefully) Prime Minister, dark as they are! This is the work of Gordon Browne(1858-1932) - with an "e". This book includes an amazing number of illustrations - 140! - these are only some of the striking characters portrayed. They are so well observed and detailed, convaying the darker aspects of human nature while being quite humorous as well(to me anyway). The deep, dramatic tones remind me of Rembrandt's engravings and the expressions on the faces and postures must have drawn some influence from Blake's work.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

"Fat Cat" by James Sage and Russell Ayto - published by HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd, 2002

This has to be one of my all time favourite books. I bought it as soon as I saw it at Waterstones in 2003 - yes, it was for my kids who did love the story and the pictures but it's been kept in my library ever since!
Russell Ayto is one of the most exciting, talented and technically brilliant illustrators working in the UK today. His characters are so unique and outstanding yet cute and lovable. The colours are rich and the lines playful and very scratchy! Luckily he has illustrated quite a number of children's books(various publishers such as Walkers, Puffin, Peachtree, Orchard Books, Candlestick Press and others) which I can't resist buying when I find them even though my children have grown past that age.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

"Travels In France And Italy During The Years 1787-89" by Arthur Young (J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd, London 1942)

Needless to say I bought this book just because of the strange design on its cover! No credits inside for the artist - only the initials EH. There is also an additional woodcut on the title page along the same lines. Very inspiring artwork.