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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Albert Morrow

ALBERT MORROW
by
Robert J. Kirkpatrick

Albert George Morrow was best-known as a poster artist, designing and painting hundreds of posters from 1890 onwards, mainly for the theatre. But he was also a prolific illustrator for magazines and periodicals, and, to a lesser extent, of children’s books. He was also a rather colourful character.

He was born on 26 April 1863 in Comber, County Down, the son of a painter and decorator from Clifton Street, Belfast. (His obituaries gave his father’s name as George, whereas his 1887 marriage certificate showed his father as Charles Morrow). He was the first of seven brothers, four of whom also went on to become artists and illustrators:  George (1869-1955), Jack (1872-1926), Edwin (1877-1952), and Norman (1879-1917). He was educated at the Belfast Model School and then, between 1875 and 1881, at the Belfast Government School of Art. In 1879 he won first prize in an open competition in The Graphic for a black and white drawing, and a year later he won a prize from The Magazine of Art. During much of his school career he was an active member of the local Band of Hope, part of the Irish Temperance League.

In 1881 he was awarded a two-year scholarship at the South Kensington School of Art, worth £52 a year. Most sources that refer to this (previously-published brief biographies and newspaper articles) suggest that he attended the South Kensington School from 1882 onwards – however, he was clearly there in April 1881, as he was recorded in that year’s census as an art student, boarding at 19 Hasker Street, Chelsea, with Robert Cookman, a butler.

When he left South Kensington he joined the staff of The English Illustrated Journal, in particular drawing industrial scenes from locations all over the country. He designed his first theatrical poster in around 1890 – by his own account (in an interview in the magazine The Poster in January 1899) this was for a production of The Stranglers of Paris, or The Grip of Iron (which had first been performed in 1883). The poster was printed by Clement Smith & Co., a well-established theatrical poster company, for whom Morrow went on to design several more posters. In 1891 he joined the London branch of David Allen & Sons, of Belfast, another printing company which produced posters, postcards etc. One of Morrow’s best-known posters, printed by David Allen, was for the satirical comedy The New Woman, written by Sydney Grundy and which premiered in 1894.

Morrow went on to work for David Allen  & Sons until at least 1907. He was, at some point, obliged to change his working methods, revealing in The Poster that he used to paint his posters full size in distemper, but printing methods meant that it became necessary to reduce the size of the original which was then mechanically enlarged, a process he thought to be “completely wrong.”  He also insisted on doing his own lettering on his posters, saying that this should form an essential part of the design. In addition to his work for David Allen, he produced a series of posters, on his own account, for Alfred Harmsworth’s cheap weekly Answers.

In the late 1890s, Morrow began performing at the monthly Smoking Concerts at the Press Club, in Wine Office Court, Fleet Street, producing quick-fire sketches of the members and guests.

In the meantime, Morrow had married Louisa Anna Finch (born in Chelsea in 1867, the daughter of Richard Finch, a mason) at St. Gabriel’s Church, Pimlico on 29 August 1887. They subsequently lived at a number of addresses, including 67 Winchester Street, Pimlico; 26 Alderney Street, Pimlico; 324 King’s Road, Chelsea; 35 Albert Mansions, Battersea; and 9A Cambridge Road, Battersea, until in January 1899 Morrow filed for divorce. In his petition (held at the National Archives) he claimed that his wife had committed adultery with William Lovesey Preston, beginning in October 1897. For his part, Preston denied this; so, too, did Morrow’s wife – indeed, she responded that Morrow was “a man of violent temper and of very intemperate habits.” She claimed that he had begun ill-treating her in 1896, and that “he frequently as well when he was intoxicated as at other times in gross filthy and obscene language abused [her] and swore at her and assaulted and beat and struck her and in divers other ways was guilty of cruelty….”  This, of course, sits rather uneasily with Morrow’s earlier involvement in the temperance movement….. The marriage was subsequently formally ended in January 1900.

Morrow maintained his somewhat peripatetic lifestyle, moving to 4 Stamford Bridge Studios, Chelsea, in 1901. On 5 June 1901, giving his address as The Coach and Horses Hotel, Kew, Morrow married Phyllis Dorothy Grimmé (born in 1875 in Chelsea, the daughter of Francis Louis Grimmé, an electrician, who was living at 12 Clydesdale Road, Notting Hill), at St. Anne’s Church, Kew. They went on to have two children: Albert John, born in Brentford, Middlesex, in 1902; and Phyllis Dorothy Mary, baptized at Ickford, Buckinghamshire, on 22 May 1904. The family subsequently moved to 1 Albert Studios, Albert Bridge Road, Battersea. By 1907, they had re-located to Penn Road, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire; and they subsequently moved to Studio House, Kingsway, Gerrard’s Cross, Buckinghamshire (1911), and Silverton, Ledborough Lane, Beaconsfield (1915).

Besides his poster work, Morrow was also in demand as an illustrator for periodicals and magazines. As well as in The English Illustrated Magazine, his work appeared in The Cornhill Magazine, Sunday at Home, The Illustrated London News, The Studio, Sylvia’s Home Journal, The Sketch, The Poster, The Art Journal, The Sheffield Weekly Telegraph (for which he illustrated a serial story in 1905), Lloyd’s Magazine, The Graphic, The Sphere, Good Words, Little Folks, Lazy Land, Short Stories, Illustrated Bits, Cassell’s Magazine, The New Magazine, The Strand Magazine and Punch. He also supplied illustrations to several boys’ periodicals, including Ching Ching’s Own, The Boys’ Friend, The Boys’ Leader, Big Budget, The Boy’s Own Paper, Chums and The Captain.

As a book illustrator, he worked for a variety of publishers, and illustrated a wide range of books, mainly those published for children. Amongst the authors whose novels he illustrated were Amy Le Feuvre, Wilkie Collins, H. Rider Haggard, Harold Avery, Gordon Stables and Christine Chaundler. He also illustrated re-issues of novels by Frederick Marryat and R.H. Dana. (Much of his book work remains unrecorded).

He also provided illustrations for numerous children’s annuals from around 1918 onwards, in particular those from Blackie & Son, F. Warne & Co., and the Oxford University Press.

As an artist, Morrow exhibited several times at The Royal Academy, beginning in 1894, and in 1903 he exhibited at the first annual exhibition of the Ulster Arts Club in Belfast. Four years later the Ulster Arts Club gave him the honour of a solo exhibition.

In the 1920s he claimed to have done a lot of work for Cassell & Co., although most of this has yet to be identified. He had moved from Buckinghamshire to Sussex, where he died, at Whitemore, West Hoathly, on 26 October 1927, being buried in the churchyard of All Saints Church, Highbrook, Hoathly. His gravestone was designed by the architect Albert Toft (1862-1949), with whom Morrow had been a close friend since they met at South Kensington in 1882. His estate was valued at a mere £91, suggesting that he had lived life to the full, no doubt fully immersing himself in the Bohemian world of the London theatre and Fleet Street, and had been profligate in spending what would have been substantial earnings.

His widow died on 5 December 1978 in Lindfield, Sussex, leaving an estate valued at £5,048.


PUBLICATIONS

Books Illustrated
The Red Thread of Honour, or The Minster Schoolboys by Marianne Kirlew, Oliphant, Anderson & Ferrier, 1891
An Artist in the Himalayas by A.D. McCormick, T. Fisher Unwin, 1895
The Infant by Frederick Wicks, Remington & Co., 1895
The Purloined Prince by Edgar Turner & Reginald Hodder, The Caxton Press, 1905
Mirian Lemaire, Moneylender by Coralie Stanton & Heath Hosken, Cassell & Co., 1906
The Mender by Amy Le Feuvre, R.T.S., 1906
The Midnight Guest by Fred. M. White, Cassell & Co., 1907
Sir Walter Raleigh: An Historical Romance by William Devereux & Stephen Lovell, Greening, 1910
Noel and His Star by Kaye Maud Johnson, Religious Tract Society, 1913
No Name by Wilkie Collins, Collins, 1915
Whilst Father was Fighting by Eleanore H. Stooke, R.T.S., 1917
The Mystery Ship: A Story of the “Q” Ships During the Great War by Percy F. Westerman, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1920
The Ancient Allan by H. Rider Haggard, Cassell & Co., 1920
The Happy Comrade by E.L. Haverfield, O.U.P., 1920
The Strange Adventure of Jack Smith by John Finbarr, O.U.P., 1921
The Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat, O.U.P., 1922 (re-issue)
The Crimson Ramblers by Violet Bradby, O.U.P., 1922
Between Two Schools by Harold Avery, T. Nelson & Sons, 1923
A Merry Heart by Joan Leslie, O.U.P., 1923
Princess Carroty-Top and Timothy: A Fairy Tale of Today by Christine Chaundler, F. Warne & Co., 1924
Barbara in Charge by M.E. Fraser, R.T.S., 1925
Secrets of the Mountains: A Story for Girls by Mabel L. Tyrrell, F. Warne & Co., 1925
Gunpowder, Treason and Plot by A. Edwards Chapman, F. Warne & Co., 1926
Hideaway House by J. Roland Evans, R.T.S., 1926
The Boy Over the Way by Frederica J.E. Bennett, Religious Tract Society, 1927
Harry Lorrequer by Charles Lever, Readers Library, 1928 (re-issue)
Two Years Before the Mast by R.H. Dana, Readers Library, 1928 (re-issue)
Adrift in the Pacific by Jules Verne, Readers Library, 1928 (re-issue)
Kidnapped by Smugglers by Frederica J.E. Bennett, R.T.S., 1931
Jack Locke: A Tale of the Sea During the Napoleonic Wars by Gordon Stables, F. Warne & Co., (?) (re-issue)
Tales of Hoffman Retold from Offenbach’s Opera by Cyril Falls, Jarrolds, (?)
A Little Mother to the Others by L.T. Meade, F. Warne & Co. (re-issue)

Annuals etc. (various dates)
The Oxford Annual for Scouts, O.U.P.
The Oxford Annual for Boys, O.U.P.
The Golden Budget for Boys, Blackie & Son
The Boys’ Book of School Stories, Blackie & Son
The Bumper Book of School Stories, Collins
Collins Adventure Annual, Collins
The Big Book for Girls, O.U.P.
My Own Story Book, F. Warne & Co.,
Warne’s Happy Book for Boys, F. Warne & Co.,
The Jolly Book, T. Nelson & Sons
Jolly Days for Girls, O.U.P.
The World of Sport and Adventure by Wingrove Willson (ed.), Aldine Publishing Co.,
The Companion Annual, R.T.S.
My Picture Book, Containing Alphabets and Stories, Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales, F. Warne & Co.
The British Girl’s Annual, Cassell & Co.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Comic Cuts - 29 September 2017

I've spent another week writing about Victorian demi-mondes and the publishers who produced books about them. I'm still managing to keep up an output of around 1,000 words a day – the latest essay clocks in at around 10,000 words so far – but every sentence seems to involve a ton of brain-mangling research. Trying to find info. on one of the publishers took most of a day, although half of that was spent following a similarly-named bookseller.

But the results are (I hope) fascinating. I swear that you could turn this essay into a drinking game: a half-pint for every bankruptcy and a short for selling obscene libels. You will be half-cut before you're halfway through the article.

One of the reasons it is taking so long is that the ending involves someone that I'm also going to be writing about, so I'm doing bits of research into the latter at the same time. These will be the two essays that lead off the volume, so I need to make sure they're spot on.

Meanwhile, my boring-ass life has mostly involved gardening for the last couple of weeks. Our landlady hired a handyman to do a couple of jobs, including fixing the shower and some other bits 'n' bobs. The shower is weird... it's actually the bath, but has a hinged window that swings open when not in use and usually it would swing open when you were using it, so you'd briefly be showering the bathroom floor while you tried to drag the window back into place. Anyway, about four years ago the lower hing broke, so we've been asking to have it fixed ever since. The window still works (thanks to the hinge at the top and the fact that the bottom edge of the window sits on the rim of the bath) but it's still a pain in the rump. The bath itself is uncomfortably small.

So this handyman guy came round for a couple of days and, while he made a nice job of re-felting the roofs of the garden sheds (yes, I am Steve "two sheds" Holland!) and giving them a lick of varnish, and chopping back one of the trees at the back, he still hasn't done the job that we thought was to be the priority. Also, "I'll be back on Tuesday with a van to pick up all the garden waste," doesn't mean what I thought it meant. We've had two Tuesdays since then and still no sign of the garden waste being removed from where he dragged it down the side of the house.

This led to a slight problem as we needed the garden waste bags in order to sort out the front garden ahead of the Sale Trail on Saturday. We have a steep drive and a lawn with quite an angle to it, so the idea is to put a table in at the top of the drive where there is a level recess for parking. Since we had the trees cut back, the ivy has run rampant and we've had quite a wet summer, which hasn't inspired much desire to get out in the garden. And, of course, there's my natural laziness.

So Mel and I attacked some of the ivy around the recess and along the driveway on Sunday, and I cut back the overgrowth along the fence we have along one side of the garden. I'm planning to put up a sign on the fence later today.

Over the next few days I mowed the lawn, and shaved the hedge along the other side of the garden until it looked roughly even – not an easy task as it's made up of a rusty old wire fence plus whatever wild weeds and creepers have grown along and through the fence in the past fifty or so years. Not so much a hedge as a tangle with an attitude. (This is, of course, the hedge with the hidden fence that our old hedge-trimmer burnt out on.)

I'm very pleased with the results. We even took out some of the spikes on Spiny Norman, a diabolical South African plant with thick, sword-shaped leaves whose real name I can't remember. The leaves are vicious and will stab you through whatever clothing you're wearing.

And just to put the final nail in the coffin of my life, I'm very disappointed by the new garden waste bags. They're pretty poor compared to the old ones, which I needed to replace because they were tearing and generally falling apart. The new ones are smaller and don't look like they'll last more than five minutes. Even the lady in the council office who handed them to me looked embarrassed. "At least they're free," she said, which I guess is less than a thin plastic carrier bag from the Co-op, but it looks as if it will be almost as useless at holding anything but grass cuttings.

So... no totaliser this week because I haven't actually finished any more essays, but we do have some random scans. And this week's theme is... grass!


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 27 September 2017.

Want the perfect issue to jump on board with the groundbreaking British sci-fi action weekly comic that's been blazing across the galaxy for the past 40 years? Well Prog 2050 - out 27th September - is it!
    Prog 2050 is a bumper-sized 48pp jumping-on issue, featuring a whole new roster of stories - perfect if you want to jump on board with 2000 AD or are looking to rekindle your devotion to the Galaxy's Greatest Comic!
    From Celtic barbarian Sláine to transdimensional troubleshooters Indigo Prime, from future lawman Judge Dredd to mercenary marksmen Sinister Dexter, and from the origin of the Dark Judges in Fall of Deadworld to interplanetary immigration in Grey Area, there's something for all in this special bumper edition!
    There's also a special one-off Rogue Trooper story from Starman and Scarlet Witch writer James Robinsonwith art by Hellblazer and Wacky Raceland artist Leonardo Manco!
    AND ON TOP OF ALL OF THAT there's also a very special 30-year anniversary appearance of everyone's favourite pop-star-turned-superhero - Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell's Zenith!

2000AD 2050
Cover: Simon Davis
JUDGE DREDD: ICON by TC Eglinton (w) Colin MacNeil (a), Chris Blythe (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
ROGUE TROOPER: A SOLDIER’S DUTY by James Robinson (w) Leonardo Manco (a) Simon Bowland (l)
GREY AREA: HOMELAND SECURITY by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
SLÁINE: ARCHON by Pat Mills (w) Simon Davis (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
INDIGO PRIME: A DYING ART by John Smith, Kek-W (w) Lee Carter (a) Simon Bowland (l)
SINISTER DEXTER: DOWN IN THE DUMPS by Dan Abnett (w) Steve Yeowell (a) John Charles (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
THE FALL OF DEADWORLD: HOME by Kek-W (w) Dave Kendall (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Sunday, September 24, 2017

J Ley Pethybridge

J. LEY PETHYBRIDGE
by
Robert J. Kirkpatrick

J. Ley Pethybridge was a gifted artist adept in a variety of forms  –  black and white illustrations for books (especially children’s books) and periodicals, and landscapes and genre paintings in oils and watercolours. Unfortunately, he died aged only 40.

He was born on 7 April 1865 in Launceston, Cornwall, and christened John Ley Pethybridge. His father, Edward Pethybridge (1822-1907) was a prominent banker (founder of a local bank), local politician, Methodist preacher and, later in his life, an Alderman and J.P. His mother, Emma (née Dingley – 1836-1906) was Edward’s second wife  – his first, Eliza Jane (née Dingley – her relationship to Emma is not known), with whom he had three daughters, had died in 1859. Edward and Emma, who married in 1862, went on to have four sons (Edward, John, Frank and William). The family lived for many years at Manaton, Launceston.

John Ley Pethybridge was educated at Dunheved College, Launceston. As well as showing a natural talent for art, he was also a talented musician, regularly performing in local concerts, in particular on the violin and banjo, and giving recitals. In addition, he was a keen sportsman, playing cricket and football for Launceston, and also enjoying shooting and fishing.

After leaving school he went to London, where he worked in a studio in St. John’s Wood. He then studied in Bruges, and later with the Newlyn school of Painters in Cornwall. For a time around the beginning of the 20th century he studied under the wildlife painter John Emms at his studio in Lyndhurst in the New Forest, while lodging with Thomas Vithyan, a house painter, and his family, in Pemberton Road, Lyndhurst.

On 10 July 1902, at All Saints Church, Okehampton, Devon, he married Ethel Grace Pearse (born in Hatherleigh, Devon, in 1882), with whom he went on to have one child, Annabel Grace, born on 30 July 1903. They settled at Stratton, near Bude, in north Cornwall, where he became active in the local Ratepayers Association and, shortly before his death, a manager of Stratton day school.

As an artist, Pethybridge began establishing himself in the late 1880s. He exhibited at the Bristol Academy in 1887, The Society of Western Artists in Plymouth in 1892, The Royal Society of British Artists in 1893, and the Royal Academy, beginning in 1894. However, he was best-known, in Devon and Cornwall at least, for his black and white illustrations in books of local interest, beginning with a re-issue of Eden Phillpotts’ Folly and Fresh Air, published in 1899. This was followed by books such as West Country Songs by Mark Guy Pearse (1902), Footprints of Former Men in Far Cornwall by R.S. Hawker (1903), My Devon Year by Eden Phillpotts (1904), and The Piskey Purse: Tales and Legends of North Cornwall by Enys Tregarthen (1905). The 38 original drawings for My Devon Year had been exhibited in a solo exhibition at an art gallery in Exeter in November 1903.

He was more prolific, if not as well-known, as an illustrator of children’s books, in particular being associated with the publisher Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., of Paternoster Buildings, London, for whom he illustrated at least 13 books. The first book he illustrated, Tatters and Jennie’s Schooldays, published by the Wesleyan Methodist Sunday School Union  in 1890, was written by Lillie Pethybridge, the wife of William Pethybridge, presumably a relation although this is not clear.
Pethybridge also contributed to a range of story papers, periodicals and magazines, including Wells Gardner, Darton & Co.’s Chatterbox and the same firm’s annual Darton’s Leading Strings; The Girl’s Own Paper, The Badminton Magazine, The Argosy, The Ludgate Monthly, The Home Messenger, Pall Mall Magazine, Black and White, and The Temple Magazine.

In June 1905 Pethybridge was told that he had terminal cancer. He moved in with his brother Frank at “Ashleigh”, Tavistock, Devon, where he died on 3 September 1905, being buried three days later in St. Andrew’s churchyard, Stratton. He left an estate valued at £1,153. Tragically, his mother died the following year, and his father the year after that. His widow re-married in 1910, and died in 1977.


PUBLICATIONS

Books illustrated by J. Ley Pethybridge
Tatters and Jennie’s Schooldays by Lillie Pethybridge, Wesleyan Methodist Sunday School Union, 1890
In the Dragon’s Mouth by Mary MacLeod, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1896
The Union Jacks by (Anon.), Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1897
English Ann at School in Blumbaden by R. Ramsay, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1897
The Little General by (Anon), Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1898
Folly and Fresh Air by Eden Phillpotts, Hurst & Blackett, 1899 (re-issue)
Roy’s Sister, or “His Way and Hers” by M.B. Manwell, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1899
The Boys of Barminster by A.B. Simeon, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1899
Sunday Reading for the Young, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1901
West Country Songs by Mark Guy Pearse, Horace Marshall & Son, 1902
Footprints of Former Men in Far Cornwall by Rev. R. S. Hawker, John Lave & Walter Weighell, 1903
Mother Bunch: A Story for Boys and Girls by Stella Austin, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1903
Kenneth’s Children: A Story for Boys and Girls by Stella Austin, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1903
Other People: A Story of Modern Chivalry by Stella Austin, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1903
Uncle Philip: A Tale for Boys and Girls Chivalry by Stella Austin, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1903 (re-issue)
The Two Christophers by H. Elrington, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1903
Robin the Rebel by H. Louisa Bedford, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1903
My Devon Year by Eden Phillpotts, Methuen & Co., 1904
Cornish Ballads and Other Poems by R.S. Hawker, John Lane, 1904
Tom and the Enemy by Clive R. Fenn, S.W. Partridge, 1904
Sir Bevill by Arthur Christopher Thynne, John Lane, 1904
A Family Grievance by Raymond Jacberns, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1904
Brave Brothers, or Young Sons of Providence by E.M. Stooke, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1905
The Life and Letters of R.S. Hawker by C.E. Byles, John Lane, 1905
The Piskey Purse: Tales and Legends of North Cornwall by Enys Tregarthen, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1905
The Competitors: A Tale of Upton House School by Fred Whishaw, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1906
The Ring of Nature by G.G. Desmond, Methuen & Co., 1913
The Medland Boys and Schooldays at St. Benedict’s by A.L. Haydon, Sunday School Union, 1916  (re-issue)
One Hundred Pictures from Eden Phillpotts by L.H. Brewitt (ed.), Methuen & Co., 1919


Friday, September 22, 2017

Dez Skinn doc debuts on Youtube

A brief documentary about Dez Skinn has debuted on Youtube:


Produced by Maximilian Feurstein and Ted Dontchev of the Brighton Film School, the 11 1/2 minute doc. covers his career in comics.

Comic Cuts - 22 September 2017

The first phase of work on Fifty Forgotten Authors is almost at an end. Hopefully I'll have it finished in the next week or two. It's looking more likely that the book will be a monster, and not cheap to produce, even if it's almost all text with only a handful of illustrations. My original estimate was 175,000 words and I was hoping it would be less. Now I'm hoping it won't be more!

I don't see this book selling too many copies in print, but I'm hoping that it will do better as an ebook. But then we have the problem of putting a price on such a huge tome. So the plan is to break the book down into chunks of, say, 50–60,000 words so that there's a solid amount of reading material and I can charge £5.99 or something like that.

I have two essays on the go that I want to include in the first volume, and a couple of other pieces that are almost finished. Once I have those done I'll have a pool of 19 essays of various lengths that I can draw from and which I can juggle into an interesting volume of the right length. I can then crack on with the second batch of essays, releasing ebook versions as I go along, until I hit the fifty mark and put together the print version. This way I will at least have something new out this side of Christmas.

To bring you up to speed, the totaliser now stands at almost 60,000 words spread across 15 essays, one of which I need to make some adjustments to as I'm still trying to nail down the author's date of death.

This week I've been working on what I'm planning to use as the opening pair of essays in the book. One involves a lot of alcohol and the other a lot of prostitution, so you can imagine the fun I'm having and the kind of search history I'm building up with Google. And since everything is so integrated these days I can't wait to see what my Amazon recommendations are going to be next time I want to order a book and what Facebook thinks are my favourite subjects: booze, whores or boozy whores?

This is probably the only time I'm going to be able to say that I'm taking a break from trying to discover biographical details for the notorious night club owner Kate Hamilton, whose night-house entertained the young gentry during their trips to London. Kate Hamilton's was the place to visit, as long as you were planning to spend some serious money on champagne and cocktails (yes, cocktails in the 1850s); then you might wander off with one of the girls to a house of accommodation where you could rent rooms for the night.

Kate Hamilton gets a lot of mentions in books by Victorians and books about Victorians, but they all contain roughly the same information. What they don't have is any clue about Kate's background or what became of her after the 1860s. She just seems to disappear. Her clubs had front men who would take the fall if there was any police action, so I'm not finding much in official records. It's most frustrating.

Random scans. Something a bit naughty.

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Commando issues 5055-5058

Commando issues on sale 21 September 2017.

Brand new Commando issues 5055-5058 are here! Expect Wildcats, Catalinas, and Zeroes as our Commandos dodge Panzers in ruined villages in France, navigate hostile tropical islands, and trek the perilous Pyrenees, fighting for survival!

5055: Falsely Accused
May, 1940. The Third Reich invades France, unstoppable as they progressed over the unforgiving French soil. Forced to retreat to the coast, the British Expeditionary Force faced intense struggle from the invading Nazis. That’s when Private Bill Greaves’ unit was obliterated by an incoming Junkers, leaving him the sole survivor. Desperate to regroup, Bill’s worries are far from over when, seeking shelter, he finds more enemies in the form of two deserters looting a French Manor…
    Written and drawn by Jaume Forns, with cover art by David Alexander, the story and art merge perfectly, complimenting each other under Forns’ auteuristic control, while Alexander’s traditional art cover shows the claustrophobic intensity of the ruined French village.

Story: Jaume Forns
Art: Jaume Forns
Cover: David Alexander

5056: Dangerous Dawn
“Name – Laker.
Rank – Petty Officer.
Number – 178305. And that’s all I’m supposed to say.”
    When Petty Officer Gordon Laker is captured by a Japanese patrol boat, surrender is never an option – but neither is escape. Hell-bent on revenge for his sunken submarine crew, Laker isn’t ready to give up and if his Japanese captors think he’s going to a P.O.W. camp, then they don’t know their port from their starboard! No, Laker is ready to take that boat, sail for the nearest Allied port and get back to battle.
    With artwork by Gonzalez, whose minimal shading and refined attention to facial expression makes Lester’s rag-tag prisoners come alive. Complimenting is Lopez Espi’s 1960s cover, with a blood red sky and jagged waves thrashing against our brave hero.

Story: Lester
Art: Gonzalez
Cover: Lopez Espi
Originally Commando No 380 (January 1969) Reprinted No 1099 (February 1977)

5057: Jungle Heat
Patrolling the South Pacific in their Catalina, bickering R.A.A.F. pilots Dave Keating and Roger Smith’s plane crashes into the Papua New Guinea jungle, an island occupied by the Japanese. The survivors manage to radio for help – but it will be two days before reinforcements arrive. Until then, they must face tropical heat, poisonous wildlife, dehydration, booby-traps, Japanese patrols and each other…
    Manuel Benet’s interior and cover art is, as always, dynamic with crisp lines, distinct shading and memorable character design, adding to the roguish rivalry of Colin Watson’s leading duo.

Story: Colin Watson
Art: Manuel Benet
Cover: Manuel Benet

5058: Escape Line
A series of lifelines run by French Resistance men, “COBWEB” helped ferry downed aircrew back to Britain by crossing the Pyrenees into neutral Spain. Helping them is Marcel Dupont, a former French journalist recently released from captivity in Spain after being betrayed when escaping the Civil War. Now, leading a group of Allies across the perilous mountains, Marcel’s guide seems hauntingly familiar… Could he be the same man who led him to capture so many years ago?
    A twisting story that will keep you guessing, Alan Hemus’s Silver Age issue takes inspiration from classic westerns, with artwork from Garijo that really draws from the beauty and danger of the Pyrenees– and all wrapped up in an Ian Kennedy cover to boot!

Story: Alan Hemus
Art: Garijo
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No 2650 (March 1993)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 20 September 2017.

Judge Dredd Megazine 388
Cover: Alex Ronald
JUDGE DREDD: COLLATERAL DAMAGE by TC Eglington (w) Nick Dyer (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
ANDERSON: NWO by Alan Grant (w) Paul Marshall (a) Dylan Teague (c) Simon Boland (l)
DEVLIN WAUGH: BLOOD DEBT by Rory McConville (w) Mike Dowling (a) Simon Bowland (l)
DREDD: FURIES by Arthur Wyatt, Alex De Campi (w) Paul Davidson (a) Len O'Grady (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
DOMINION by John Wagner (w) Nick Percival (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)

Features:
Comic Auteurs: Frank Miller by Colin Smith
New Comics: Dave Gibbons & Tim Pilcher interview by Karl Stock
Alfonso Azpiri obituary by Karl Stock

Bagged graphic novel: Whatever Happened to...? by Pat Mills, Gordon Rennie, Simon Spurrier, Alan Grant (w) Chris Weston, Garry Leach Graham Manley, Rufus Dayglo, Roger Langridge, Carlos Trigo, Steve Roberts, Robin Smith (a) Tom Frame, Roger Langridge, Annie Parkhouse, Ellie De Ville

2000AD Prog 2049
Cover: Alex Ronald
Judge Dredd: War Buds by John Wagner (w) Dan Cornwall (a) Abigail Bulmer (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
The Alienist: Inhuman Natures by Gordon Rennie, Emma Beeby (w) Eoin Coveney (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
Greysuit: Foul Play by Pat Mills (w) John Higgins (a) Sally Hurst (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
Future Shocks: Alt-Life by Rory McConville (w) Jake Lynch (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Hope: ... For The Future by Guy Adams (w) Jimmy Broxton (a) (c) Simon Bowland (l)

Saturday, September 16, 2017

T W Holmes

T.W. HOLMES
by
Robert J. Kirkpatrick

T.W. Holmes was a prolific illustrator of boys’ story papers between the late 1890s and his death in 1929. He also illustrated a handful of books, with his speciality being transport. However, he should, perhaps, be best-remembered as a pioneering illustrator for the blind.

He was born in Newcastle in 1872, and christened Thomas William Holmes, the first of five children of William and Elizabeth Holmes. William, born in Yorkshire in 1848, had a varied career, including spells as a commercial traveller, auctioneer and grocer. His other children were Robert (born 1874), Alfred (1879), Harriet (1881), and Frederick (1883 – he also became an artist). In around 1881 the family moved to Leeds, where Holmes was educated at St. Mark’s School, Woodhouse. When he left, in 1887, he became an assistant in a Leeds chemist’s. However, his ambition was to become an artist – he had already shown an aptitude at St. mark’s – and he therefore left his job and enrolled as a full-time student at the Leeds School of Art. Within a year he had won a Silver Medal for Design in the annual competition run by the South Kensington School of Art, followed by a Bronze medal a year later. He subsequently obtained an Art Class teacher’s Certificate, and in 1889 he was taken on by the Leeds School of Art as a teacher of Elementary and Advanced Perspective.

Whilst working as a teacher, he began a second career as an illustrator. By 1893 he had given up teaching and was working in Leeds as a full-time artist, at 53 & 54 Prudential Buildings, Park Row (whilst living at 30 Norwood Terrace, Headingley). Most of his work was black and white line drawings for the cheap periodical press  –  amongst his earliest work were drawings and cartoons in the boys’ story paper Chums.

In 1894 he moved from Leeds to Shepperton, Middlesex. On 20 April 1897 he married Martha Alice Leggott (born in Bootle, Lancashire, in 1873, the daughter of William Leggott, an auctioneer) at St. Nicholas’s Church, Haxey, Lincolnshire (where she had been living with her family for many years). The couple subsequently lived at 14 Laleham Road, Shepperton (1901 census).

In January 1895 he drew the cover for the first number of The Boys’ Friend, published by Alfred Harmsworth, and he went on to illustrate numerous stories in that paper until 1922. He also worked on several other boys’ story papers published by Harmsworth (later the Amalgamated Press), including The Boys’ Herald, The Boys’ Realm, Cheer Boys Cheer, The Champion and The Union Jack, for which he illustrated many of the early Sexton Blake stories. He was also closely associated with the author Henry St. John, for whom he illustrated his “St. Basil” stories. He also supplied the covers for several issues of The Boys’ Friend Library.

Between 1904 and 1924 he provided illustrations for Chums, published by Cassell & Co., and he also supplied pictures for C. Arthur Pearson’s The Boys’ Leader, Big Budget and Scout, and for Andrew Melrose’s Young England.

In the meantime, after the outbreak of the First World War, Holmes had been asked to produce a war map for Progress, a Braille magazine published by the National Institute for the Blind. He immediately recognized an unfilled need, that of illustrations for blind readers. He taught himself to read Braille, and he also took a course in metal work and embossing at a West London Workshop. He was subsequently asked by the President of the National Institute, Sir Arthur Pearson, to take charge of the illustrations of the Institute’s Braille books.

Much of his work was on maps, plans and diagrams. Amongst the Braille books that Holmes illustrated were editions of The Outline of History by H.G. Wells; Science from an Easy Chair by Edwin Ray Lankester; The Story of the Heavens by Robert S. Ball; A History of Everyday Things in England by Marjorie Quennell; The Conquest of Civilisation by James Henry Breasyed; and English Gothic Architecture by Peter Ditchfield. He also illustrated a series of Swedish school books, on music, history, mechanics, optics, acoustics, magnetism and electricity. As an advocate of Esperanto, he became the honorary illustration editor of the international Esperanto Braille magazine Esperanta Ligilo, published in Stockholm by Harald Thilander, for whom Holmes also illustrated an Esperanto version of what had originally been published in Britain as A Picture Book for the Blind. For many years he was affectionately known as “The Blind Man’s Artist.” His last work was Flags of the Nations, which included diagrams of the flags of all the leading nations, with a brief outline of their history, and with the colours indicated by different arrangements of lines and dots.

In an article in The Beacon (a magazine published by the National Institute for the Blind) in August 1929, a friend described how engaging he was as a conversationalist, albeit with a “quiet, slow speech.” He went on to describe how Holmes once showed him “a pocket sketch book without a single margin free from some face or figure, or wall, or tree, snapped up as he passed by – and kept…..” He went on: “Needless to say, he is entranced by a map. He enters into a map’s spirit. When he was preparing a map to illustrate a Braille edition of Xenophon’s Anabasis, it was not enough for him to copy the printed plan; he himself had to take part in that eventful march of the Ten Thousand, and to know by heart the cities they visited and the deserts and mountains they crossed.”

The article also emphasized the innovative approach Holmes adopted to his work: “He has not merely used the embossed dot of all sizes and variations in grouping; he has brought into his experiments for creating a “Blind Picture gallery” the values of different surfaces, and by doing so has shown the relationship between touch and vision from a new aspect, almost bringing it into the same category as the relationship between taste and smell.”

Holmes also illustrated a handful of books for non-blind readers, the first of which appears to have been Railways, published by Blackie & Son in 1918, for which he supplied 16 colour plates. He went on to provide illustrations for Motor Wonders (T. Nelson & Sons, 1924), The Wonders of Speed (T.C. & E.C. Jackson, 1924 – re-issued by T. Nelson & Sons in 1936), and Mooring by Land, Sea and Air, written by G. Gibbard Jackson and published by T. Nelson & Sons in 1927. He also had illustrations in annuals such as The Boys’ Budget, The Lucky Boys’ Budget and The Boys’ Book of School Stories (all published by Blackie & Son). As far is known, the only novel he illustrated was a re-issue of G.A. Henty’s John Hawke’s Fortune: A Story of Monmouth’s Rebellion, published by Blackie & Son in 1925.

At the time of the 1911 census Holmes and his wife were living at Oxford Villas, Laleham Road, Shepperton. In 1928 his health began to decline, although he carried on working. He died in St. Pancras, London, on 8 September 1929, and was buried in the churchyard of St. Nicholas’s Church, Shepperton. His wife died, at 3 Commercial Road, Staines, on 8 April 1945, and was buried alongside him.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Comic Cuts - 15 September 2017

Another big essay out of the way as I trudge slowly towards our grand total of Fifty forgotten authors... currently I've written up thirteen, but lucky number thirteen has proven to be a really enjoyable one. Originally he appeared as part of another writer's essay but I thought he deserved his own piece this time around, and I'm pleased I made that decision as it meant I could dig deep into a series of court cases featuring fraud, bigamy and bankruptcy.

This was one I started the research for last week alongside the research for the original subject of the essay. By Saturday I had extensive notes for two essays, plus about 94 newspaper clippings relating to the guy I started writing up on Sunday. I have been pulling 10-11 hour shifts to complete the whole thing, which runs to about 10,200 words. The additional research done as I was writing up various sections means that I've ended up with 140 clippings, which now range from newspaper reports and census returns for various family members to a memorial certificate from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and a couple of full-length books.

While the research is still fresh in my memory I'm planning to return to the first author I wrote about and weave her story around the new longer essay, reversing how it was written originally. Should be fun – not most people's idea of fun, I suspect, even for the masochists who regularly read the columns of Bear Alley. And I'm planning to do this on a weekend I have all to myself, as Mel is away at a show. That said, I might binge watch the last half a dozen episodes of Dark Matter season three. What a shame they've cancelled it... I thought the show had really found its feet with the second and third seasons.

I've often said that the fun of writing this kind of essay is that you have no idea where the research will take you or what surprises you will turn up. I stumbled across one today while I was digging around into the Rapid Language College, which was a failed business set up by the author I have been writing about. They were widely advertised in newspapers back in 1905, but closed down shortly after their classes were launched in the autumn of that year.

As you can see from the advert on the right, they operated out of an address in Marylebone, London. As I was writing up some information about the college, I looked up Great Quebec Street to see where it is. And here's the thing that took me by surprise: Great Quebec Street was renamed Upper Montague Street... and I used to work in Upper Montague Street! Yes, it's the same Upper Montague Street where Look and Learn had their office.

Thirteen essays completed means I have about a quarter of the book finished. Of course, fifty is a target I've set for myself, but it sounds better than, say Thirty-Seven Forgotten Authors and ten better than Forty Forgotten Authors, so I suspect I'll stick to the target.

As I've spent most of the week looking at court cases involving a criminal author, today's random scans are examples of author's writing about crime. A bit obvious, I know, but sometimes an obvious choice will turn up some very nice images.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Releases from Rebellion Publishing for 12-13 September 2017.

2000AD Prog 2048
Cover: Luke Preece
Judge Dredd: War Buds by John Wagner (w) Dan Cornwall (a) Abigail Bulmer (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
The Alienist: Inhuman Natures by Gordon Rennie, Emma Beeby (w) Eoin Coveney (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
Greysuit: Foul Play by Pat Mills (w) John Higgins (a) Sally Hurst (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
Future Shocks: Terminal by Rory McConville (w) Tilen Javornik (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Hope: ... For The Future by Guy Adams (w) Jimmy Broxton (a) (c) Simon Bowland (l)

Brink by Dan Abnett & INJ Culbard
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08550-9, 12 September 2017, 98pp, £12.99 / $17.99.
IN THE LATE 21ST CENTURY THE REMAINS OF THE HUMAN RACE ARE CRAMMED INTO the Habitats: vast artificial space stations; hotbeds for crime and madness policed by private security firms. When a routine drug bust goes wrong, no-nonsense Investigator Bridget Kurtis finds herself in a life or death struggle with a new sect of cultists. But evidence begins to point to something far more sinister going on behind the scenes... The first series of the new atmospheric, sci-fi thriller from Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard.

Survival Geeks by Gordon Rennie, Emma Beeby & Neil Googe
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08554-7, 12 September 2017, 114pp, £12.99 / $17.99.
WHEN STUDENT SAM WAKES UP IN THE HOUSE OF A GROUP OF OBSESSIVE SCI-FI FANS, she becomes their reluctant new housemate after their home gets transformed into a piece of misfiring trans-dimensional technology! Now they can travel to places where no 2-up 2-down terraced house has gone before. Armed only with their wits (and Star Wars trivia) the group of misfits must survive in whatever horrifying dimension or alternate reality they find themselves in!
An affectionate parody of Sci-Fi and Fantasy tropes, this quirky comedy adventure features steampunks, Dark Lords, cuddly Lovecraftian horrors and the occasional dysfunctional lightsaber!