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Saturday, March 17, 2018

W E Wigfull

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

W.E. Wigfull was probably best-known for illustrating over 20 of Percy F. Westerman’s novels over a 27 year period, although he was also known as a yachtsman and author and illustrator of coastal and sailing stories.

He was born in Ecclesall Bierlow, Sheffield, in 1874, although his exact date of birth is unclear – in the 1939 Register he gave his date of birth as 14 May 1874, although the Civil Registration Birth Index shows his birth as being registered in the fourth quarter of 1874. He was named William Edward Wigfull, after his father William (born in 1839). His mother, Ann Crawshaw Ragg (born in in Ecclesall Bierlow in 1838) was the daughter of James and Elizabeth Ragg, James being a scissor manufacturer. William Edward was the fifth child of William and Ann, his siblings being James (born 1864), William (born 1865, died 1867), Mary (born 1867) and Joshua (born 1869).

At the time of the 1881 census the family was living at 105 Union Road, Ecclesall Bierlow, with 17 year-old James listed as an architecture student. William Edward subsequently attended Sheffield Royal Grammar School, and in the 1891 census, when the family was living at 41 Crescent Road, Eccesall Bierlow, he was working as a commercial clerk (while James was working as an architect’s assistant). The following year, William Edward enrolled at the Sheffield School of Art, where he studied until at least 1896. He exhibited oil paintings with the Sheffield Society of Artists between 1895 and 1901, by which time he had moved to London, firstly to 1A Cathcart Road, Kensington, and then to 5 Albert Studios, Albert Bridge Road, Battersea, where, in the 1901 census, he was recorded working as an artist and living with his brother Joshua, the manager of an electroplating company. He had no doubt benefited financially from a legacy from his father, who had died in 1898 – he had entered into a partnership with Thomas Hydes, as engineers, in 1870, and the business had flourished, enabling William to leave an estate valued at £3,018, worth around £309,000 in today’s terms.

William Edward Wigfull’s earliest known published work appeared in 1899, in The Poster Magazine and The Idler. In 1900, he began contributing to The English Illustrated Magazine, and over the following ten years he contributed to The Girls’ Realm, The Longbow, The Quiver, The Penny Magazine, The Strand Magazine, Chums, and The Captain.

In the meantime, on 21 November 1903, at St. Jude’s Church, Kensal Green, he had married Alice Rhodes Green, the daughter of Thomas Green, a painter and decorator. Alice, born in Leamington, Warwickshire, in 1877, had earlier worked as a servant (1891 census) in Milverton, Warwickshire, before becoming a dressmaker. William and Alice subsequently moved to 25 Cambridge Mansions, Cambridge Road, Battersea, and then to 1 Kings Road, Willesden. In the 1911 census, they were recorded at 16 Augusta Place, Leamington, staying with Alice’s brother, Frederick Arthur Green, a plumber and decorator, and his family. William and Alice had, however, settled on a move to Essex – they were also recorded in 1911 living at 82 Oakleigh Park Road, Leigh-on-Sea, an address they maintained until Alice’s death there on 20 July 1924. In an article in Yachting Monthly in 1914 he described a yachting trip around Canvey Island in which he was accompanied by his “wife, sister-in-law and small daughter” – although no further details of his daughter are known (nor, indeed, if he had any further children).

Wigfull had established himself as a book illustrator in the early 1900s, beginning with a girls’ historical novel in 1905, which was followed by five more girls’ stories until 1914, when he illustrated his first Percy F. Westerman stories: The Log of a Snob (published by Chapman & Hall) and The Sea-Girt Fortress (published by Blackie & Son). He went on to illustrate a further 22 Percy F. Westerman stories, mainly for Blackie & Son, including ‘Midst Arctic Perils (1919), The Wireless Officer (1922), On the Wings of the Wind (1928), The Amir’s Ruby (1932), Ringed by Fire (1936), and Standish Gets His Man (1938). He also illustrated six novels by Percy Westerman’s son John F.C. Westerman, beginning with A Mystery of the Air in 1931 and ending with The Air Record Breakers in 1940.

He also illustrated a number of similar boys’ adventure stories by a variety of authors, in particular Lawrence R. Bourne. His work also appeared in the occasional boys’ annual, such as Blackie’s Boys’ Annual and The Big Budget for Boys. He had also continued contributing to periodicals, in particular The Bystander (for which he provided numerous cartoons and comic drawings between 1918 and 1922). Other periodicals which included his work around this time were The Wide World Magazine, The Pall Mall Magazine, Everyweek, The Sphere and The Scout.

Having moved to the Essex coast, he quickly developed an interest in sailing. He began a long association with the magazine Yachting Monthly, for which he wrote articles (sometimes using the pseudonym “Handy Billy”) as well as supplying black and white illustrations.

After his wife’s death, he moved to South Benfleeet, Essex. In 1931, he was living at “Berkenray”, Sidwell Avenue, and in the 1939 Register he was recorded at Lobster Smack, Canvey Island. He died on 1 January 1944 at his home at Fairview, Highcliff Road, South Benfleet, leaving an estate valued at £2,187 (around £81,000 in today’s terms).

As an illustrator of boys’ adventure stories, it must be admitted that he was not particularly good. In his Dictionary of 20th Century Book Illustrators Alan Horne remarked that “His work is reproduced mostly in half-tone, and is quite undistinguished.” Similarly, Brigid Peppin and Lucy Micklethwait remark in their Dictionary of British Book Illustrators of the Twentieth Century: “He worked mainly in halftone, a style that became more linear as his career progressed, but which gradually lacked distinguishing features.” There is a large element of truth in this – many of his illustrations are very dark and appear to be hastily done, and why the Westermans’ publisher persevered with him is something of a mystery. His political cartoons in The Bystander also had the appearance of being dashed off in a hurry, although some of his other cartoons were more carefully drawn and had echoes of the earlier work of Tom Browne.


Books illustrated by W.E. Wigfull
A Bearer of Dispatches: A Story of the Siege of Lynn, 1643 by Emil Loch, S.P.C.K., 1905
In the Days of the Gironde: A Story for Girls by ‘Thekla’, Religious Tract Society, 1910
Living It Out by H.M. Ward, Religious Tract Society, 1910
The Sea-Baby by Amy Whipple, Religious Tract Society, 1910
The Moods of Delphine by L.E. Tiddeman, Religious Tract Society, 1911
The Heart of a Friend: A Story for Girls by Florence Willmot, Religious Tract Society, 1911
Skylark, or A Boy’s Influence by M. Geneste, Religious Tract Society, 1912
The Log of a Snob by Percy F. Westerman, Chapman & Hall, 1914
The Sea-Girt Fortress: A Story of Heligoland by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1914
A Sub. Of the R.N.R.: A Story of the Great War by Percy F. Westerman, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1915
The Fight for Constantinople by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1915
The Battles of the South Seas by Frank H. Mason, Yachting Monthly, 1915 (with other artists)
Sea, Spray and Spindthrift: Naval Yarns by “Taffrail” (i.e. H. Taprell Dorling), C. Arthur Pearson, 1917
The Secret Channel and Other Stories of the Great War by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1918 (with other artists)
The Thick of the Fray at Zeebrugge by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1919
‘Midst Arctic Perils: A Thrilling Story of Adventure in the Polar Regions by Percy F. Westerman, C. Arthur Pearson, 1919
The Wireless Officer by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1922
A Cadet of the Mercantile Marine by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1923
The Good Ship “Golden Effort”: A Tale of the Mercantile Marine by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1924
The Wreck of the “Wager” and Subsequent Adventures of her Crew by John Bukeley and the Hon. John Byron, Blackie & Son, 1925
King of Kilba by Percy F. Westerman, Ward Lock & Co., 1926
Moffat of Africa: A Zealous Missionary and a Brave Pioneer by Norman J. Davidson, Seeley, Service & Co., 1926
Two Years Before the Mast by R.H. Dana, Blackie & Son, 1926 (re-issue)
The Terror of the Seas by Percy F. Westerman, Ward Lock & Co., 1927
On the Wings of the Wind by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1928
Captain Starlight by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1929
The Gang on Wheels by D. Lindsay Thompson, Ward Lock & Co., 1930
The Secret of the Plateau by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1931
A Mystery of the Air by John F.C. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1931
The Looted Gold by John F.C. Westerman, Ward Lock & Co., 1932
The Amir’s Ruby by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1932
Chasing the “Pleiad”by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1933
Captain Ben and the Almighty by Herbert S. Carter, J. Looker Ltd., 1933
The Coppernob Omnibus by Lawrence R. Bourne, Oxford University Press, 1933
The Westow Talisman by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1934
Harry Paye: A Romance of Old Poole by Herbert S. Carter, J. Looker Ltd., 1934
Standish of the Air Police by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1935
The Chronicles of Jerry by Lawrence R. Bourne, Oxford University Press, 1935
Radium Island by Lawrence R. Bourne, Oxford University Press, 1936
Ringed by Fire by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1936
The Secret Island by John F.C. Westerman, Ward Lock & Co., 1936
Standish Gets His Man by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1938
Mixed Cargoes by Lawrence R. Bourne, Oxford University Press, 1938
Battling Though by John F.C. Westerman, Ward Lock & Co., 1938
Standish Loses His Man by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1939
Saving His Ticket by Lawrence R. Bourne, Oxford University Press, 1939
The Northway’s Quest by John F.C. Westerman, Ward Lock & Co., 1939
Standish Pulls it Off by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1940
A Spot of Bother by John F.C. Westerman, Ward Lock & Co., 1940
The Air Record Breakers by John F.C. Westerman, Ward Lock & Co., 1940
Our Merchant Navy by Sidney Howard, Oxford University Press, 1941
Standish Holds On by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1941
Sailing on a Modest Income: An Anthology of Articles from “Yacht Sales and Charters” Magazine, 1925-27 ed. By Maurice Griffiths, Waterside Publications, 1996

Friday, March 16, 2018

Comic Cuts - 16 March 2018

With Mel away for the weekend, I settled back into the couch and watched the second season of Jessica Jones. I am not a huge fan of superheroes per se, preferring Batman over Superman... a well-trained and gadget-assisted human to an alien who, let's face it, shouldn't have any problem pounding the crap out of any villain he faces. Hence more and more stupid reasons why he can't just beat them into a pulp, which is how you end up with a whole rainbow of colours of Kryptonite.

I was never a fan of  Marvel's heroes but eventually found a title that I liked when they relaunched Daredevil back in 1998. I thought Frank Miller's time on Daredevil was interesting, but the revamp was genuinely brilliant, with Brian Michael Bendis at the helm. It was one of the few comics I kept reading in the 2000s, along with those of another Daredevil alumnus, Ed Brubaker.

Because it was Bendis, I picked up Alias when it came out in 2001-04. It was around that time that I gave up buying monthly comics entirely, but I still have a soft spot for that kind of comic noir and I haven't wholly given up the habit, although I now just pick up the very occasional graphic novel, mostly those by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips: Criminal, Fatale, The Fade Out.

Which, in a roundabout way, brings me to Jessica Jones, star of Bendis's Alias monthly. As a fan at the hardboiled end of crime fiction and of the original comics, I watched the first season of the TV adaptation with a certain amount of trepidation. Thirteen episodes later I was able to breath out again and applaud the fact that they had done justice to the character. I still think the first series of Daredevil, which was broadcast a year earlier, is the best of the Netflix Marvel Universe shows to date, although that was down to Vincent D'Onofrio giving a mesmerizing performance as Wilson Fisk. I don't think any of the shows—Punisher, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders—have put a foot so wrong that I haven't been able to watch the whole show.

Season 2 continues the languid pace that these Netflix shows have adopted. They tend to be 50 minutes or so in length, which is quite a bit longer than the average American TV series where an hour is actually only 38-43 minutes between the adverts. A lot of character building falls by the wayside as the show shrinks; you have to use a shorthand to tell the audience who you should like, so if Character A shows a photo of their wife/girlfriend/child to someone else, Character A is almost certainly going to be slaughtered in the not-too-distant future and you'll feel sorry about it because at the back of your mind you're thinking "What about his poor wife/girlfriend/child?" Anyone mistreating a wife/child/animal is not a character you should have sympathy for. If a crime drama opens with a jogger or a dog-walker, a body will be found 30 seconds later. Shorthand.

So, the extra time makes the series seem a little slower than most American TV. Also, the character of Jessica Jones is in a grey area that most TV shows don't like their lead characters to inhabit. She's bolshy, antisocial, obsessive, a heavy drinker who makes bad choices when she's drunk, unhappy, uncertain and unrepentant. She stepped over a line in the first season and she's still dealing with the consequences of her actions, and she continues to deal with them throughout the whole run of 13 episodes, rather than have her problems neatly wrapped up in an episode or two, a line drawn under them so they can be ignored from thereon.

I loved the dialogue, the darkness, the voiceover... it's the best hardboiled show I've seen in ages and, thankfully, the superheroics have been kept down to a minimum. The producers have managed to create fascinating shows out of flawed characters (The Punisher was also excellent, Iron Fist less so). I just hope they can keep it up in Luke Cage season 2 and Daredevil season 3, which are both due later this year.

I'm also looking forward to the next season of Legion, which was one of the better entries to the rash of superheroes appearing on TV. It was written by Noah Hawley, who has also written and produced Fargo since 2014, making him perhaps my favourite US TV creator at the moment. Apparently, he's writing a standalone series based on Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle at the moment, so that's something else to look forward to.

There are a few Marvel tie-in shows that we haven't caught up with yet: we did see the disappointing Inhumans, but have yet to watch The Gifted or Runaways. Oh, and Agents of SHIELD is back, so that's something else to catch up on. I'm not giving up on the DC televerse shows (Arrow, Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and newcomer Black Lightning) but I really haven't had a chance to watch them. And we're only days away from the new Krypton series.

Now that Jessica Jones is finished, the show I'm looking forward to most is Hap and Leonard. The first two series (based on the first two H&L novels by Joe R. Lansdale) were brilliant and I'm hoping that the third can keep up the same head of steam. I need you all to find this show and watch it, discuss it, advertise it and promote it. I don't want there to be any risk of it not finding an audience.

When I'm not watching the TV, I'm looking at another screen and I think I now have a good idea of what will be included in the next Forgotten Authors volume. The contents should look something like this: 'Mysteries of the House of Harrison & Viles' looks at the stories of publishers Edward Harrison and Edwin Viles, the latter the author of the longest-running penny-dreadful, Black Bess; the essay also includes information about an author I believe to have been nicknamed 'Blueskin' by a critic of Harrison and Viles. As a kind of P.S. I'm also including a shorter piece on Walter Viles, younger brother of Edwin, who had a very tragic career.

Next up, two pieces that tie-in with the Bracebridge Hemyng essay in volume two, as we look at two of his brothers who were also authors: Dempster Heming and Philip Heming. Then there's Mrs. Frances Campbell and her daughter, Phyllis (Angel of the Mons) Campbell. W. Keppel Honnywill is another tragic story, while J. Weedon Birch was an author who caused my late friend W.O.G. (Bill) Lofts many hours of fruitless searching.

Bill spent even more time on trying to locate authentic information on a writer known as Michael Storm, ultimately without success. So I'm including here essays on two authors who wrote as Michael Storm, one who wrote as Michael Storme, and one who ghosted stories for the dead first Michael Storm in secret as they were sold to the publisher as being newly discovered tales from the deceased author's estate.

And that should bring the book in at about the same length as Volume 2, roughly 65,000 words, plus an introduction. Because I've switched some material around, I think that will also leave roughly 20,000 words of material already written that I will carry forward to Volume 4.

No random scans this week as I'm trying to work up a really nice cover gallery for you all to enjoy. Hopefully I'll also have some news for you next week of some comic projects that are coming up. There's a few really cool books due in the next few months.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 14 March 2018.

2000AD Prog 2072
Cover: Clint Langley
JUDGE DREDD: LIVE EVIL by Ian Edginton (w) Dave Taylor (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
BAD COMPANY: TERRORISTS by Peter Milligan (w) Rufus Dayglo (a) Dom Regan (c) Simon Bowland (l)
FUTURE SHOCKS: SUNDAY SCIENTIST by Laura Bailey (w) Paul Williams (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
BRASS SUN: ENGINE SUMMER by Ian Edginton (w) INJ Culbard (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
ABC WARRIORS: FALLOUT by Pat Mills (w) Clint Langley (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Monday, March 12, 2018

Illustrators Special #2: British War Comics

The second Illustrators special edition concentrates on the artists supplied by the studio of Italian artist and agent, Rinaldo D'Ami (aka Roy D'Amy). Regular readers of Illustrators will know that each issue of the regular quarterly is of the highest quality and filled with gorgeous colour artwork in a wide range of styles. The only difference here is that the book is fatter by about 50 pages.

The origins of the book lay in the rediscovery of over a thousand old War and Battle picture library covers in the Iron Mountain warehouse in Canning Town in the mid-2000s. I remember travelling up to London in September 2005 and meeting up with David Roach and Rufus Dayglo to look through pallets of artwork in a vast, cold hanger. This is where the colour covers had been discovered a couple of weeks earlier. Boxes of them. They became the basis of two books from Prion, Aarrgghh!! It's War (2007) and The Art of War (2008).

The Illustrators Special takes a different approach, tackling the war comics from a different direction, with artwork drawn by members of the D'Ami Studio as its starting point. Thus the book begins with a brief look at D'Ami's early work in Italy before tackling some of the big names from the studio.

First up (and some might say he deserved a whole volume to himself!) is Giorgio De Gaspari, an astonishingly talented artist who worked primarily on the Cowboy and Super Detective libraries before becoming the primary artist for the early War Picture Library, painting covers for 32 of the first 48 issues. Here we are introduced to some of his later work, which is simply incredible, painted for friends and for tradesmen in exchange for food while he lived a hermit-like existence at Pallestrina.

Another favourite of mine (I think I'm going to be repeating that phrase a lot) is Gino D'Antonio, about whom I've written in the past (I edited a collection of some of his literary adaptations, Worlds of Adventure, a few years ago). While the essay is well worth a read, it does repeat a fallacy that Gino began Storia del West in 1967. He didn't. It was originally sold to the UK where it appeared as Valiant Story of the West in 1966, although only two issues appeared.

Next up is Alessandro Biffignandi (another favourite... etc.) who, sadly, died just over a year ago. Again, a fantastic cover artist, well represented here with many examples of his war work for the UK and examples from his years drawing covers for adult comics and novels.

Renzo Calegari was one of the early artists for the War Picture Library, working with Carlo Porciani and other members of the D'Ami Studio to create "Action Stations", "The Gallant Few", "Bombs Away", "Tracy of Tobruk", "Crash Start", "Commandos Die Hard" and other early War titles, as well as "The Rats of Tobruk", the first issue of Battle Picture Library. You'll recognise his dynamic, gritty artwork when you see it.

Another cover artist, Nino Caroselli, is covered in only a few paragraphs, but there are some fine examples of his work. Pino Dell'Orco is also given a little space to show his talents as a painter.

One of the best pieces in the book is the reminiscences of Ferdinando Tacconi shared by Ron Tiner, who was a huge fan of the artist and got to meet him shortly before his death. Tiner writes a detailed account of his work here in the UK, which encompassed everything from war libraries to "Journey Into Space" and dozens of pages for Look and Learn and other educational magazines.

Overall it's an incredible volume, not only for fans of those old British war libraries but for any fan of military artwork or anyone who wants to know more about some of the talents behind many of the finest of British comics.

For more information on Illustrators and back issues of the regular quarterly title, visit the Book Palace website, where you can also find details of their online editions, and news of upcoming issues. Issue 22 will feature the history of the Spanish-British agency Bardon Art, which was responsible for bringing to the UK many of the finest Spanish artists to work in comics and book covers, just as the D'Ami Studio supplied Italian artists.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Arthur Twidle

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

Arthur Twidle was, in the first decade of the 20th century, well-known as an illustrator of Arthur Conan Doyle stories, both in The Strand Magazine and in hardback from. But he was also a fairly prolific illustrator of children’s books, particularly adventure stories, and other books, being closely associated with Silas K. Hocking and Frank Thomas Bullen.

He was born in Rotherhithe, Surrey, in 1864. His father, Alfred, was a cooper, born in Rotherhithe in 1833; his mother, Rachel, born in Rotherhithe in 1834, was a glovemaker, the daughter of William Smith, a shipwright from Bermondsey. They had five children as well as Arthur: Rachel (born in 1854), Alfred (1860), Emily (1862), Clara (1870), and Alice Maud (1876).

At the time of the 1871 census, the family was living at 34 Winchester Street, Rotherhithe. Alfred’s mother died in 1879, and Alfred was sent to live with his uncle, Thomas Morris, a cooper, and his family, at 21 Tranton Road, Bermondsey. Arthur was already working as a wood engraver, although where, and where, he learnt his craft is not known. (Arthur’s father subsequently, in April 1882, married Martha Selina Smith, née Riggitt, a widow whose first husband had died in 1870).

On 11 July 1885 Arthur Twidle married Annie Elizabeth Mason, born in 1866, the daughter of John James Mason, an engineer, at St. Olave’s Church, Southwark. They were both, at the time, living at 89 Abbey Street, Bermondsey.

Twidle had already moved away from engraving to illustrating, with his first work, an engraving by E. Evans of a black and white drawing of a cedar tree, appearing in a collection of stories and verses for children published by James Nisbet & Co. in 1883. He went on to illustrate several more books issued by Nisbet, including several novels by R. M. Ballantyne. He illustrated his first Silas K. Hocking novel, The Day of Recompense, published by Frederick Warne & Co., in 1899, and he went on to illustrate at least seven more, ending in 1911 with The Quenchless Fire. Also in 1899 he illustrated his first Frank Thomas Bullen story, The Log of a Sea Waif, published by Smith, Elder & Co. Bullen, who had gone to sea at the age of 12 in 1869, went on to become a prolific author of sea stories, and Twidle illustrated at least nine of them.

In 1891 Twidle and his wife were living at ‘Eversley’, 262 Lordship Lane, Camberwell. They had had two children:  Annie, born in 1888, and Arthur, born in 1889. Two years later, in 1893 Twidle began contributing to The English Illustrated Magazine and The Family Friend. He went on to contribute to several other periodicals, including Good Words, The Quiver, The British Workman, The Temple Magazine, The Red Magazine, The Wide World Magazine, The Leisure Hour, Cassell’s Family Magazine, Chums, and The Sunday at Home. He became a close friend of the campaigning journalist W. T. Stead, and contributed to his magazine The Review of Reviews, launched in 1890 by Stead in partnership with George Newnes. This was primarily a vehicle for Stead, who wrote most of its content – book and magazine reviews, articles commenting on world events, with Twidle providing illustrations and cartoons. However, Twidle was to become best-known for his contributions to The Woman at Home, The Strand Magazine and The Boy’s Own Paper.

The Woman at Home, usually sub-titled "Annie S. Swan’s Magazine", had been launched by Hodder &Stoughton in 1893, with Annie S. Swan, a Scottish novelist, as editor. Twidle began illustrating her own stories in the magazine in 1895, continuing to do so until 1904. In 1903, Twidle was commissioned by Smith, Elder & Co. (in partnership with the New York firm of D. Appleton & Co.) to illustrate eleven of the twelve titles in their “Author’s Edition” of the works of Arthur Conan Doyle. Two years later, he was commissioned to illustrate Doyle’s historical story Sir Nigel in The Strand Magazine, eventually producing no fewer than 125 black and white illustrations. He went on to illustrate five more Conan Doyle stories for the magazine – indeed, after the death of Sidney Paget, who had been illustrating Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories in The Strand since 1891, in 1908, Doyle, when he was writing a new Holmes story, specifically asked for Twidle, with whom he was very impressed, to supply the illustrations. Unfortunately, Twidle was not on good terms with The Strand Magazine’s art editor, W.H.G. Boot, and despite Doyle trying to act as a broker between them, Twidle went on to illustrate only two more Holmes stories, 'A Reminiscence of Sherlock Holmes' (also known as 'The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge') and 'The Adventure of the Bruce Partington Plans', both in 1908, and two non-Holmes stories, 'The Lord of Falconbridge' and 'The Homecoming', in 1909.

As well as The Strand Magazine, Twidle was also closely associated with The Boy’s Own Paper, for which he illustrated several serials, mainly adventures stories set overseas, and numerous short stories between 1906 and 1924.

As a book illustrator, Twidle specialized in boys’ historical and adventure stories, working for a number of publishers, in particular Frederick Warne & Co., Jarrold & Sons, and the Religious Tract Society. He also illustrated a handful of boys’ school stories, including three by Charles J. Mansford, and several girls’ stories. Some online sources, as well as newspaper obituaries after his death, claimed that he illustrated several books by Gilbert Parker and H. Rider Haggard – however, it has not been possible to trace any of these.

One of Twidle’s particular interests was entomology, which found an expression in his book Beautiful Butterflies of the Tropics: How to Collect Them, published by the Religious Tract Society in 1920. This contained 13 colour plates, including scenes of butterfly hunters in action, along with numerous black and white line drawings in the text. It was, however, was a bit of a fraud on Twidle’s part, as he never visited the tropics, but rather collected his specimens from commercial sources. Nevertheless, his expertise was recognized when he was subsequently elected a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society.

Twidle had also always been interested in religious art, and towards the end of his life he focused almost exclusively on this, the highlight being The New Oxford Pictorial Bible, published by the Oxford University Press in 1934, for which he provided 16 colour plates.

While Twidle also painted – in oil, watercolour and pastel – unlike many of his contemporaries he did not exhibit a great deal. He had two pictures shown at the Royal Academy in 1903 and 1913, the first bring a scene from Conan Doyle’s novel Micah Clarke. He also exhibited at the United Society of Artists, and at other minor galleries. He was also apparently well-known for his mural painting, with The Surrey Mirror noting, in an article celebrating his golden wedding anniversary in July 1935, that he had produced a mural for a church in America.

In 1901, Twidle and his family were living at “Burleigh”, Foots Cray, Sidcup, Kent, along with a 22 year-old domestic servant. They were still there ten years later, when Twidle’s son Arthur had begun working as an automobile engineer. They later moved to The Rowans, Godstone Green, Godstone, Surrey. It was here that he and his wife celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. Sadly, he died a year later, on 26 April 1936, and was buried in the churchyard of Godstone’s St. Nicholas Church. He did not leave a will. His wife died in a nursing home in Minehead, Somerset, on 9 January 1963, aged 97, leaving an estate valued at just over £9,000.


Beautiful Butterflies of the Tropics. How to Collect Them, Religious Tract Society, 1920

Books illustrated by A. Twidle
Ben Brightboots and Other True Stories, Hymns and Music by Frances Ridley Havergal, James Nisbet & Co., 1883
The Giant of the North: Adventures Round the Pole by R.M. Ballantyne, James Nisbet & Co., 1886
The Middy and the Moors: An Algerine Story by R.M. Ballantyne, James Nisbet & Co., 1888
Six Months at the Cape by R.M. Ballantyne, James Nisbet & Co., 1888 (re-issue)
The Crew of the Water Wagtail by R.M. Ballantyne, James Nisbet & Co., 1889
The Garret and the Garden, and Jeff Benson by R.M. Ballantyne, James Nisbet & co., 1890
Deeds of Gold by various authors, Edward Arnold, 1892 (with other artists)
Deep Down: A Tale of the Cornish Mines by R.M. Ballantyne, James Nisbet & Co., 1893 (re-issue)
The Reef of Gold by Maurice H. Harvey, Sampson Low, 1894
The Secret of the Desert; or, How We Crossed Arabia in the 'Antelope’ by E. Douglas Fawcett, Edward Arnold, 1895
Travel Pictures from Palestine by James Wells, Isbister & Co., 1896
With the Mission to Menelik, 1897 by Lord Edward Gleichen, Edward Arnold, 1898
A Nine Days’ Wonder, or The Mystery in the House: A Tale of the Turf by Edward Garrett, “Home Words” Publishing Office, 1898
The Day of Recompense by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1899
The Log of a Sea Waif by Frank T. Bullen, Smith, Elder & Co., 1899
In Moorish Captivity. An Account of the 'Tourmaline' Expedition to Sus, 1897-98 by Henry M. Grey, Edward Arnold, 1899
The “Polly’s” Apprentice by Tom Bevan, Edward Arnold, 1900
Deep-Sea Plunderings. A collection of Stories of the Sea by Frank T. Bullen, Smith, Elder & Co., 1901
From a Turret Window by Annie S. Swan, Hodder & Stoughton, 1902
Sea Wrack: Adventures at Sea by Frank T. Bullen, Macmillan & Co., 1903
Money and the Man by Harry Marsh Ward, Religious Tract Society, 1903
Cristina: A Romance of Italy in Olden Days by Emily Underdown, Swan Sonnenschein, 1903
Niece Diana by Marion Ward, Isbister & Co., 1903
The Sins of a Saint: An Historical Romance by J.R. Aitken, Swan Sonnenschein & Co., 1903
The Road to Manhood by William Beach Thomas, G. Allen, 1904
Sea Puritans by Frank T. Bullen, Hodder & Stoughton, 1904
By Unseen Hands by Eric Lisle, “Sunday Companion” Office, 1904
Miss Greyshott’s Girls by Evelyn Everett Green, Andrew Melrsoe, 1905
The Flaming Sword by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1905
Adam Bede by George Eliot, Andrew Melrose, 1905 (re-issue)     
Frank Brown, Sea Apprentice by Frank. T. Bullen, James Nisbet & Co., 1906
Our Heritage of the Sea by Frank. T. Bullen, Smith, Elder & Co., 1906
The Squire’s Daughter by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1906
A Modern Pharisee by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Ware & Co., 1907
The Silent Man by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1907
Young Nemesis by Frank T. Bullen, James Nisbet & Co., 1908
The Quest of Douglas Holms by H. Escott Inman, Frederick Warne & Co., 1908
The Shadow Between by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1908
Yours and Mine by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1908
Ray: The Boy Who Lost and Won by J. Williams Butcher, Robert Culley 1908
Armadin, or A Tale of Old Winchester by Alfred Bowker, Sir J. Causton & Sons, 1908
The Seed of the Righteous by Frank T. Bullen, Robert Culley, 1908
A Desperate Hope by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1909
Fags and the King by C.J. Mansford, Jarrold & Sons, 1909
A Son of Odin by Elsie K. Seth Smith, Jarrold & Sons, 1909
The Bitter South: A Story of Whaling in the Antarctic Seas by Frank. T. Bullen, Robert Culley, 1909
For King or Parliament: The Story of a Yorkshire Roundhead by Samuel Horton, Robert Culley, 1909
Boys of the Brigade by Ernest Protheroe, Jarrold & Sons, 1909
Prefect and Fag by C.J. Mansford, Jarrold & Sons, 1910
Our Marathon Race by Dora Bee, Religious Tract Society, 1910
Brave Sons of the Empire by Henry Moore, Religious Tract Society, 1910
Scouting for a King by Ernest Protheroe, Jarrold & Sons, 1910
Uncle Hal by Lady Macalister, Jarrold & Sons, 1910
Money and the Man by H.M. Ward, Religious Tract Society, 1910
The Rebellion of Margaret by Geraldine Mockler, Jarrold & Sons, 1910
Belle and Dolly by Anne Beale, Religious Tract Society, 1910
The Making of Treherne by J. Williams Butcher, Charles H. Kelly, 1911
The Perils of Peterkin. A Story of Adventure in North-West Canada by Robert Leighton, Jarrold & Sons, 1911
The Quenchless Fire by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1911
Hidden in Canadian Wilds by John Mackie, James Nisbet & Co., 1911
Junk Ahoy! A tale of the China Seas by William Charles Metcalf, Jarrold & Sons, 1911
Jeffrey of the White Wolf Trail by J. Claverdon Wood, Religious Tract Society, 1912
Three Boys in Antarctica by G. Warren Payne, Charles H. Kelly, 1912
Canadian Jack by John Mackie, James Nisbet & Co., 1913
The Fiery Totem: A Tale of Adventure in the Canadian North-West by C.F. Argyll Saxby, Religious Tract Society, 1913
Schoolboy Grit by Gunby Hadath, James Nisbet & Co., 1913
Aunt Diana by Rosa Nouchette Carey, “Girl’s Own Paper” Office, 1914
Headmistress Hilary by Kathlyn Rhodes, James Nisbet & Co., 1914
A Fight for Fortune, or The Tiger of Batol by T.C. Bridges, James Nisbet & Co., 1914
Little Miss Muffet by Rosa Nouchette Carey, “Girl’s Own Paper” Office, 1914
The Prairie Chief by R.M. Ballantyne, James Nisbet & Co., 1914 (re-issue)
An Admiral’s Son, and How He Founded Pennsylvania by Edith O’Brien, Headley Brothers, 1917
Through Eastern Windows. Life Stories of an Indian City by A.J. Marris, Religious Tract Society, 1919
Through A Reed Frame by Lily Sandford, Religious Tract Society, 1919
The Treasure of Tregudda: A Story of a Cornish Mystery and its Unravelling by C.F. Argyll Saxby, The “Boy’s Own Paper” Office, 1920
How the Empire Grew. The Story of the British Colonisation, with a Chapter on the League of Nations by Harry Cooper, Religious Tract Society, 1921 (with Alfred Pearse)
David, The Chief Scout by George A. Parkisnon, Religious Tract Society, 1921
The Settler of Serpent Creek. A Tale of the Canadian Prairie by C.F. Argyll Saxby, “The Boy’s Own Paper” Office, 1921
The Fourth Form at Westbourne by C.J. Mansford, Jarrold & Sons, 1923
The Quest for the Arctic Poppy: A Tale of the Great Ice-Wastes of the Far North by Raymond Raife, The “Boy’s Own Paper” Office, 1923
The Children of the Cresent by Amy Le Feuvre, Religious Tract Society, 1923
The Oak Staircase: A Narrative of the Times of James II by M. & C. Lee, James Nisbet & Co., 1923 (Re-issue)
The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, John C. Winston Co., 1923 (re-issue)
Blundering Bettina by May Wynne, Religious Tract Society, 1924
The Right Rowena by Edna Lake, Religious Tract Society, 1924
The Good Shepherd (by Anon.), Religious Tract Society, 1924
Stories from Formosa by Marjorie Landsborough, Religious Tract Society, 1924
Kookaburra Jack: A Story of Australian School Life by C.F. Argyll Saxby, The “Boy’s Own Paper” Office, 1925
Rumours in the Fourth Form by Dorothy Dennison, Religious Tract Society, 1925
Next Door to Number Five by Katherine L. Oldmeadow, Religious Tract Society, 1925
Bible Heroes (by Anon.), Religious Tract Society, 1925 (with A.A. Dixon)
Golden Tales for All by Marie L. Christlieb, Religious Tract Society, 1926 (with Harold Copping)
Joel, A Boy of Galilee by Annie F. Johnston, Religious Tract Society, 1926 (re-issue)
Twenty-six Good Stories for Girls by various authors, The “Girl’s Own Paper” Office, 1926 (with other artists)
Twenty-six Christine Chaundler School Stories for Girls by Christine Chaundler, The “Girl’s Own Paper” Office, 1926
Old Nick of Pig’s by R.J. Bellamy, The “Boy’s Own Paper” Office, 1927
Joseph the Pioneer by George A. Parkinson, Religious Tract Society, 1928
The World’s Children by Margaret Cameron, James Nisbet & Co., 1929 (re-issue)
The New Oxford Pictorial Bible, Oxford University Press, 1934
Come Unto Me, Oxford University Press, 1934
Jesus Calls Us, Oxford University Press, 1934
The Old Old Story, Oxford University Press, 1934 (with W.H. Margetson)
Pictures for the Classroom, Oxford University Press, 1934 (with other artists)
The Little Bible, Oxford University Press, 1935
A Yorkshire Baking by Florence Bone, Religious Tract Society, 1935

The Author’s Edition published by Smith, Elder & Co., 1903:
The White Company
Micah Clarke
The Refugees
Rodney Stone
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
A Study in Scarlet, and The Sign of Four
The Great Shadow, and Uncle Bernac
A Duet, with an Occasional Chorus
Tragedy of the Korosko and The Green Flag
The Stark Munro Letters and Round the Red Lamp

Friday, March 09, 2018

Comic Cuts - 9 March 2018

I'm hoping to have volume 3 of Forgotten Authors out before my birthday, which is in about a month's time. I mentioned last week that I'd decided to make some last minute alterations to the contents as one of the essays I wanted to include required some explanation about another author, and it makes more sense (well, it does to me) that I write up the other author properly instead of doing a precis that I then need to expand at some point. Hopefully that makes sense.

But nothing about these books is easy, so having decided to do that one extra essay, it also makes sense to write about that author's son. And then there's another guy that ties into all this, so I might as well write him up so he's in the same volume. So it's all change for the contents of volume 3 and I've yet to figure out what's in and what's out because I don't know how long each of the new essays will be. Actually, that's not quite true, because I do have the first one finished and it was 8,300 words or so, pushing the totalizer up to around 168,000 words and we've now hit the four-fifths of the way to my original total of fifty forgotten authors.

Definitely in are Edward Viles and his brother Walter, neither of whom have appeared here on Bear Alley, Frances and Phyllis Campbell, the former of whom I've now managed to track down a date of death for and also additional info. on the fate of Phyllis, then there's Michael Storm (the one I've just finished), Michael Storm (the one I'm starting), George Teed, J. Weedon Birch and Michael Storme (the one I've still to do). Plus as many others as I can squeeze in. There's a little theme to the choices here but you'd have to have been reading Bear Alley for a decade to spot it... a couple of these authors were subjects of "mysteries that had me mystified" features that I've now been able to resolve.

The essay just completed has also had plenty of other people mystified over the years. Way back in 1982, Bill Lofts said "Despite over 30 years of research on and off, the whole question of the mysterious ‘Michael Storm’ is as baffling as ever." Thirty-five years later—and after about 75 years of every Sexton Blake fan scratching their heads wondering who he was—I can finally say we know who he is.

His wife, on the other hand... well, you'll just have to read the book.

I had intended running some shorter pieces, but what I might do is hold them all over for volume 4. There will be a volume 4, by the way, as we won't reach our fifty authors by the time I close the door on number 3. I might make volume four a collection of lots of shorter pieces. Or I might not. There are a few authors I want to tackle in depth. I want to write about William J. Elliott because he, for me, is the ideal "Forgotten Authors" candidate because he did some incredible things and nobody seems to know it. And George Emmett and his brothers. I published a piece on them back in 2002 or so that I started expanding in 2005. I never got around to finishing it (that was the year I started working for Look and Learn) and a lot of fascinating information has come to light about George and his family since then. I suspect that will be a really long one as there's a lot to talk about.

On Monday I heard that long-time fan of British comics Chris Street had died. It took a mo. to recall how I knew him—my memory has always been awful for people and names. It came to me later. Chris was one of the people I corresponded with back in the 1980s when I started seriously pulling together information on comics. He was one of the people who passed on photocopies of strips where the artists had yet to be identified—that's how we used to do it before the internet!—and I think it true to say that without his help (and the help of the other cogs that made up this particular wheel) those early indexes that I compiled or co-compiled wouldn't have been half as good. He certainly helped out with the Thriller Picture Library and Lion indexes, which were the earliest ones worked on, way back in the late 1980s/early 1990s.

I haven't been able to find out any details of his demise, so if anyone has heard anything, please let me know. All I know is that he died last year.

Sorry also to hear of unhappy things happening to my old friends Norman and David. 2017 seems to have had it in for the British comics' researchers community.

Just to add to the woe, Al Tonik, a long-time American pulp fan died on 22 February, aged 92. I didn't know Al personally as he lived America, but I corresponded with him occasionally about American pulps when certain authors were on my radar. Fat packets of photocopies would make their way across the Atlantic in response to a request about (say) Jim Hatfield stories that appeared in Texas Rangers or the Rio Kid. A brief bio appears here.

I think I'm in need of a laugh, so for our random scans this week, scroll down for a further collection of comedy flyers from the last few years.

Comedy Flyers (2)


Thursday, March 08, 2018

Commando issues 5103-5106

Brand new Commando issues are out today! Join the WLA and help feed Britain (taking down any Luftwaffe along the way!), crash-land in Holland as part of Operation Market Garden, fly through flak in Norwegian fjords, and join the International Brigades with our British deserters…

5103: The Land Army Marches
Isolated in the Norfolk countryside, trapped in a barn with armed Luftwaffe airmen swarming outside, two women decided that, like Mister Churchill said, they’d have to make do and mend. They would never give up hope. After all, they had one advantage over their Nazi invaders: they knew the barn, and the Germans didn’t. That’s when they turned the tables, rigging the barn with a series of traps, turning the hunters into the hunted…
    In a tribute to International Women’s Day and celebrating 100 Year of Women’s Suffrage, Iain McLaughlin’s Home Front story centres on the Women’s Land Army and their invaluable services to Britain during the war. We can see this adoring tribute to the WLA in Neil Roberts’ period inspired cover, which pays homage to the now iconic posters.

Story: Iain McLaughlin
Art: Vicente Alcazar
Cover: Neil Roberts

5104: Mission of No Return
In September 1944, a group of brave paratroopers crash-landed into Hell itself! Taking part in Operation Market Garden, they were told to hold their positions until the British Army could advance further towards Arnhem. But the British Army never made it to them. Now captured, those who survived those brutal days at the front were taken to the most notorious POW camp in Germany, governed by the ruthless Commandant Wolfgang Von Kiel, who was hated even by his own men.
    Martin’s interior art stands out against other illustrators of his time, choosing a more dynamic contrast in his monochrome instead of overcrowding the page with detail – perfectly matching Allan’s straight to the point tale of the now controversial Operation Market Garden.

Story: Allan
Art: Martin
Cover: Penalva
Originally Commando No. 488 (July 1970).

5105: Flak Run!
When the SOE set their sights on a Nazi heavy-water plant in Norway, there was only one pilot Squadron Leader Bill Travers had in mind for the job – Nancy Peacocke. But, despite being a test pilot for the WAAF with extra-ordinary skills, Nancy has her own reservations for flying the new De Havilland Mosquitos. But, even if Bill gets Nancy back in the cockpit, she’ll have more than her own fears to face on the flak run to the plant…
    Paolo Ongaro’s second issue drawing interiors for Commando only solidifies his exemplary skill in comics art, which combined with first time Commando writer Brent Towns’ stellar story, marks another glorious celebration for 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage, as ‘Flak Run!’s heroine Nancy Peacocke becomes a Commando legend in her own right, taking on Nazis, 2cm Flakvierling 38 anti-aircraft guns, prejudice and her own self-doubt.

Story: Brent Towns
Art: Paolo Ongaro
Cover: Ian Kennedy

5106: Soldiers for Hire
It was 1934, and Joe Lane and Ian Benson were already sick of the army – but when Ian stabs their Sergeant Major in cold blood, both men were forced to flee! So, unable to return home, and with only military training, the two runaways’ only option was to get to Spain and join the International Brigades. However, it wouldn’t be long before Joe realised what kind of soldier Ian really was…
    With crisp, clean interiors by Keith Shone and an eye catching dual-tone cover by Ian Kennedy, Anthony Knowles’ tale of duplicity comes into fruition, stunningly conveying the contrast between these two ‘Soldiers for Hire’.

Story: Anthony Knowles
Art: Keith Shone
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No. 2762 (May 1994).

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 7 March 2018.

2000AD Prog 2071
Cover: Rufus Dayglo and Dom Regan
JUDGE DREDD: LIVE EVIL by Ian Edginton (w) Dave Taylor (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
BAD COMPANY: TERRORISTS by Peter Milligan (w) Rufus Dayglo (a) Dom Regan (c) Simon Bowland (l)
SAVAGE: THE THOUSAND YEAR STARE by Pat Mills (w) Patrick Goddard (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
BRASS SUN: ENGINE SUMMER by Ian Edginton (w) INJ Culbard (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
ABC WARRIORS: FALLOUT by Pat Mills (w) Clint Langley (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Percy Tarrant

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

Percy Tarrant was another artist who was highly regarded for both his paintings and his work as an illustrator of children’s books.

He was born on 29 May 1855 in Clapham, South London, and baptized on 1 July 1855 at Clapham’s Holy Trinity Church. His father, Alfred (born in London in 1819, died 1877) was a bookbinder, who had married Mary Anne Hale (born in Cambridge in 1817) in Cambridgeshire in 1844. Percy was the seventh of 10 children, all born between 1845 and 1863. Mary Tarrant died in 1870, and Alfred married Elizabeth Hayman Harben, the widowed daughter of a cashier, in Edmonton, London, in 1875. He died two years later.

The Tarrant family lived in Brixton for many years – 1 Brixton Rise (1861 census) and 2 Melbourne Square (1871 census – Alfred was then recorded as a bookseller). At the time of the 1871 census, Percy was recorded as a salesman’s apprentice – however, he clearly had artistic ambitions, as he later enrolled in the Lambeth School of Art (founded in 1854), where he was reported in a local newspaper as a prizewinner in 1878. He was still studying art in 1881, where he was recorded in that
year’s census as a friend staying at 12 Cambria Road, Brixton, living with Sarah Wyatt, a 34 year-old milliner (born in August 1846 in St. Luke’s, Middlesex, the daughter of James Wyatt, a wine merchant). Five years later, on 20 May 1886, Percy and Sarah married at St. Jude’s Church, Brixton – Percy was living at 57 Alfred Street, Camden, at the time, while Sarah was at 70 Shakespeare Road, Brixton. They went on to have one child, Margaret Winifred, born in Battersea on 19 August 1888 – she later achieved great success in her own right as an artist and illustrator.

By then, Percy had established himself as a professional artist. Amongst his earliest works were Christmas cards for Eyre & Spottiswoode and Marcus Ward, issued in 1882. In 1883 he provided an illustration for a Kate Greenaway story in The Illustrated London News, and in 1884 he began contributing to The Quiver, published by Cassell & Co., for whom he also worked on Cassell’s Family Magazine. He quickly became one of Cassell’s regular artists, and his work was exhibited in the company’s annual exhibition of original black and white drawings at their premises at La Belle Suavage, Ludgate Hill, on several occasions.

Tarrant went on to work for a wide range of other periodicals, including Cassell’s Little Folks and Sporting Pictures; the Religious Tract Society’s Girl’s Own Paper, The Leisure Hour and Sunday at Home; S.W. Partridge’s Band of Hope Review, The Mother’s Companion, The Friendly Visitor, The British Workman, The Family Friend and The Children’s Friend; Ward Lock & Co.’s The Windsor Magazine; C. Arthur Pearson’s The Royal Magazine; and The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News and Black and White.

Tarrant’s earliest work as a book illustrator appears to have been in three books published by Griffith, Farran & Co. in 1887. In 1889 he illustrated Nancy’s Fancies by E.L. Haverfield for the publisher W. & R. Chambers, and he went on to work for them continuously until 1932, illustrating well over 50 of their children’s books. These included several girls’ stories by L.T. Meade, Raymond Jacberns, May Baldwin and Elsie J. Oxenham, and boys’ stories by Tom Bevan, John Finnemore, Kent Carr, Escott Lynn and D. Stapleton.

Tarrant was also regularly used by the publisher George G. Harrap & Co. from 1918 to 1930, illustrating a few boys’ and girls’ school and adventure stories, alongside re-issues of classic novels such as Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Little Women and Good Wives.

His work also appeared in the occasional children’s annual, such as Ward. Lock & Co.’s The Boys’ and Girls’ Wonder Book.

As an artist, in both oils and watercolours, he exhibited widely, most notably at the Royal Academy (22 works in total), the Society of British Artists, the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours, and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, and at galleries up and down the country. One of his specialities was young children, usually portrayed without any of the twee cuteness favoured by some other artists, yet still capturing an air of innocence and charm. In an article in The Royal Magazine in February 1910, it was revealed that he had begun studying children whilst an art student, and his studio was full of toys and other objects that he used to hold a child’s attention, although he was equally as skilled painting outdoors.

In 1890 Tarrant was living at 73 St. James’s Road, Clapham, although within a year he had moved to 1 Fairfield Hill, Leatherhead, living with his wife and daughter and two servants. He eventually returned to London, firstly living at 14 Shandon Road, Clapham (1901 census), and then at 20 Brodrick Road, Wandsworth (1904-1911). He then moved to 1 High View, Gomshall, Surrey, where he lived for several years, eventually moving to The Elms, Wonham Way, Gomshall, where he died on 27 December 1934. His wife had died shortly before this. Neither appear to have left a will.

His daughter Margaret became an illustrator and author. Having studied at the Clapham School of Art, Heatherley’s School of Art  and the Guildford School of Art, she became particularly well-known for her paintings of fairies, flowers and young children. She was commissioned to illustrate an edition of Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies in 1908, aged just 19, and after illustrating several more books she began working for the Medici Society in 1920. She died on 28 July 1959, leaving an estate valued at £17,413 (£350,000 in today’s terms), most of which was bequeathed to charities.


Books illustrated by Percy Tarrant
Treasures of Art and Song by R.E. Mack (ed.), Griffith, Farran & Co., 1887
Eventide Songs and Sketches by E. Nesbit & Robert Ellice Mack, Griffith, Farran & Co., 1887  
Morning Songs and Sketches by E. Nesbit & Robert Ellice Mack, Griffith, Farran & Co., 1887
All Things Bright and Beautiful: A Treasury of Picture and Song by Robert Ellice Mack (ed.), Ernest Nister, 1888
A Child of the Precinct by Sarah Doudney, Hutchinson & Co., 1892
A Dream of Fair Women by Alfred Lord Tennyson, Ernest Nister, 1892
Greyling Towers: A Story for the Young by Mrs Molesworth, W. & R. Chambers, 1898
Mary Unwin by Alan St. Aubyn, Chatto & Windus, 1899
Nancy’s Fancies: A Story About Children by E.L. Haverfield, W. & R. Chambers, 1899
The Odds and the Evens by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1899
The Girl Without Ambition by Isabel Suart Robson, Cassell & Co., 1900
Tom’s Boy by (Anon., i.e. Evelyn Whitaker), W. & R. Chambers, 1900
Granny’s Coach-and-four by Elinor Davenport Adams, Edward Arnold, 1900
Seven Maids by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1900
Miss Nonentity by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1900
Tom and Some Other Girls by Jessie Mansergh, Cassell & Co., 1901
Lady Dye’s Reparation by Sarah Doudney, Religious Tract Society, 1901
Girls of the True Blue by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1901
Cosey Corner, or How They Kept a Farm by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1901
Girls of the Forest by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1902
Gay by (Anon.. i.e. Evelyn Whitaker), W. & R. Chambers, 1903
A Modern Tomboy by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1904
A School Champion by Raymond Jacberns, W. & R. Chambers, 1904
The Girls of St. Gabriel’s, or Life at a French School by May Baldwin, W. & R. Chambers, 1905
The Discipline of Emmeline Hope by Angela Rivers, Religious Tract Society, 1904
Turquoise and Ruby by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1906
Held by Rebels by Tom Bevan, Collins, 1907
Three Girls from School by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1907
A Discontented Schoolgirl by Raymond Jacberns, W. & R. Chambers, 1907
Tender and True by L. Tiddeman, Religious Tract Society, 1907
The Heart of Una Sackville by Mrs George de Horne Vaizey, S. W. Partridge & Co., 1907
Tom and Some Other Girls: A Public School Story by Mrs George de Horne Vaizey, Cassell & Co., 1907
Silas Marner by George Eliot, Collins, 1907 (re-issue)
The School Favourite by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1908
A Bit of Rough Road by Amy Le Feuvre, Religious Tract Society, 1908   
The Princess of the Revels by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1909
Sarah’s Schoolfriend by May Baldwin, W. & R. Chambers, 1910
Pretty-girl and the Others by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1910
The Girls’ Eton by May Baldwin, W. & R. Chambers, 1911
An Uncomfortable Term by Raymond Jacberns, W. & R. Chambers, 1911
Phoebe’s Hero by (Anon.), W. & R. Chambers, 1912
Greyling Towers (abridged for use in schools) by Mrs Molesworth, W. & R. Chambers, 1912
Jo Maxwell, Schoolgirl by Lizzie C. Reid, W. & R. Chambers, 1913
The Girls of Abinger Close by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1913
The Queen of Joy by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1914
The Outlaw of the Shell by John Finnemore, W. & R. Chambers, 1915
A School Camp Fire by Elsie J. Oxenham, W. & R. Chambers, 1917
Spoilt Cynthia at School by May Baldwin, W. & R. Chambers, 1918
The Girls of Chequertrees by Marion S. John Webb, George G. Harrap & Co, 1918
The Boys of Fellingham School by John G. Rowe, George G. Harrap & Co., 1919
Lost Island by H.P. Holt & Ralph Henry Barbour, George G. Harrap & Co., 1919
Jean and the Boys by May Baldwin, W. & R. Chambers, 1919
Caught Out! A Public School Story by Kent Carr, W. & R. Chambers, 1920
A Cottage Rose by Mabel Quiller-Couch, George G. Harrap & Co., 1920
Jackanapes and Other Tales by Juliana Horatia Ewing, David Mackay (USA), 1920
A Goodly Heritage by K.M. Eady, T. Nelson & Sons, 1920
A Riotous Term at St. Norbert’s by May Baldwin, W. & R. Chambers, 1920
The White House Boys by R.A.H. Goodyear, George G. Harrap & Co., 1921
Teddy Lester in the Fifth by John Finnemore, W. & R. Chambers, 1921
The Two Form Captains by Elsie J. Oxenham, W. & R. Chambers, 1921
Two from Miss Tiddeman’s by Frances Channon, W. & R. Chambers, 1921
Comrades Ever by Escott Lynn, W. & R. Chambers, 1921
Angel Unawares by Queenie Scott-Hopper, George G. Harrap, 1921
Topsy-Turvy Academy by R.A.H. Goodyear, George G. Harrap & Co., 1922
The Captain of the Fifth by Elsie J. Oxenham, W. & R. Chambers, 1922
Tom Brown’s Schooldays by Thomas Hughes, George G. Harrap & Co., 1923 (re-issue)
The Junior Captain by Elsie J. Oxenham, W. & R. Chambers, 1923
The Werewolf of Whispers School by Kent Carr, W. & R. Chambers, 1923
Quentin Durward by Walter Scott, George G. Harrap & Co., 1923 (re-issue)
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, George G. Harrap & Co., 1924 (re-issue)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, George G. Harrap & Co., 1924 (re-issue)
Robin Hood and his Merry Men by Escott Lynn, W. & R. Chambers, 1924
The Twenty-five Swordsmen by Escott Lynn, W. & R. Chambers, 1925
A Schoolgirl of the Blue by May Baldwin, W. & R. Chambers, 1925
Tales of All Time (Bk 5), Grant Educational Co. Ltd., 1935
The Troubles of Tazy by Elsie J. Oxenham, W. & R. Chambers, 1926
Adam Bede by George Eliot, George G. Harrap & Co., 1926
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, George G. Harrap & Co., 1926 (re-issue)
Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott, George G. Harrap & Co., 1927 (re-issue)
For Land and Liberty: A Story of the Norman Conquest by Escott Lynn, W. & R. Chambers, 1927
Seven Scamps by Elinor Brent-Dyer, W. & R. Chambers, 1927
The Lord of the Korean Hlls by Kent Carr, W. & R. Chambers, 1927
The Crisis in Camp Keema by Elise J. Oxenham, W. & R. Chambers, 1928
Where the Russian Flag Flew by David Ker, W. & R. Chambers, 1928
The Third Robin Featherstone by L.C. Douthwaite, W. & R. Chambers, 1929
Chambers’s Stepping-stones to Literature (Bk. 5), W. & R. Chambers, 1929
Heather Leaves School by Elinor Brent-Dyer, W. & R. Chambers, 1929
Men of the North by C.J. Brooke, George G. Harrap & Co., 1930
Dare at St. Martin’s by D. Stapleton, W. & R. Chambers, 1930
D’Arcy Minor by D. Stapleton, W. & R. Chambers, 1931
Janie of La Rochelle by Elinor Brent-Dyer, W. & R. Chambers, 1932
The Louisa M. Alcott Girls’ Book: Two Complete Stories, by Louisa M. Alcott, George G. Harrap & Co., 1933

Friday, March 02, 2018

Comic Cuts - 2 March 2018

Of course I'm going to talk about the snow but I'll keep it brief. I've barely left the house this week. We managed our usual walk on Sunday and the thin dusting of snow on Monday morning didn't put us off our walk Monday morning (Mel heading to work while I walked half-way around the block with her before swinging back towards home). I was back to wearing a hat, scarf and gloves, but it wasn't too bad...

We had something like 7cm of snow by Tuesday morning so I didn't bother going out. I did dig out a pathway so that Mel could get back down the drive without breaking her neck and it's probably a good job I did as she was very late back due to the icy conditions on the road (she was visiting a friend that evening).

The path was covered again by Wednesday morning by which time we had maybe 12-15cm of snow. I cut another pathway and put down a load of salt, but snow showers during the afternoon threatened to cover it up again. The pathway survived overnight and was still fairly clear on Thursday morning, but, as I write this, we have flurries of snow every now and then (actually more now than then) which might (a) turn into another blizzard and (b) might put me off going down to the post office.

That was the view from the window, so to speak. Further afield, we've had no bus service for a couple of days because snow has been drifting off the fields along the main road that links us to Colchester – the problem exacerbated by the removal of all the hedges along the roadside when the cycle path was created. A delivery truck had to be abandoned on the road and snow and stranded cars meant that the road became completely impassable on Thursday morning. That meant no gritting of any of the roads and the paths becoming more treacherous as fresh snow lands on compacted snow that has been turned to icy sheets by the freezing temperatures.

The road was opened for a couple of hours on Thursday afternoon before being blocked again. As I'm writing this (10:30 pm Thursday) I've just heard that a Council plough has made a few passes along the road, but conditions are still treacherous and the road is likely to become covered over as soon as the plough leave.

I also hear that trains were taking up to four hours to make the usually one-and-a-half hour journey and Greater Anglia are advising people to travel only if they have to.

And, worse, the bookshop closed on Thursday afternoon because of the bitter temperature. Deliveries were not getting through anyway. With the town running out of milk and bread at one point, I'm beginning to think that we've already achieved a Mad Max-style dystopian world.

The next volume of Forgotten Authors is almost done, although I've had a bit of a rethink about the contents and want to write a couple of new pieces for it that tie into one of the essays I'd already planned to include. So the contents will probably need to be juggled slightly, with some essays moved to volume 4 so that volume 3 isn't impossibly huge. I'm trying to keep the price of the series reasonable.

The big essay I was working on last week was finished on Sunday and I celebrated by writing a companion piece in only a day and a bit. That brought the total finished wordage up to  about 57,000 words... time to make some decisions about the final contents of the book... at which point I had that smart idea of writing some new essays. All I can say is that it makes more sense to run them in the same volume as there's a bit of overlap necessary in the telling of the life stories of a couple of people. And one where there isn't, but the connection will be obvious once the book is out.

Hopefully I'll have some idea of the final contents next week.

Our random scans this week have a theme of... yes, you've guessed it... What do you expect from someone sitting in a cold office looking out on the deep, white drifts of snow. It's starting to snow harder now... I'm heading off into the warmth of the living room.