The other day I posted some illustrations produced by Eric Tansley for Everybody's magazine. I also recently had an enquiry about him asking if I knew any more about him beyond what I had posted here on 18 April 2008. At the time I had to say no, but decided that I'd do a little more research on him. And I got a lucky break when I managed to locate an address for him, although it wasn't a new one: it was for where he lived in 1950. However, it was the breakthrough I needed and, with a little more digging, I was able to discover a little more about him. All—although it isn't a huge amount—will be revealed in the appended notes at the end of the original entry.
Eric Tansley is a bit of a mystery artist. He wrote and illustrated two books on birds soon after the war, Birds of the Field and Woodland (1948) and Birds of the Hill, Moor and Marsh (1950) and illustrated many books ranging from nature studies to a history of the Wild West. In the 1950s his illustrations appeared in a number of novels published by Blackie & Son and Thomas Nelson & Sons. He was still illustrating books in the 1970s, his last known work appearing in 1975 when he wrote and illustrated Fishing. However, beyond a list of his work (see below), I know nothing about his career.
Tansley's illustrations appeared in Eagle Annual, Swift Annual and Everybody's in the 1950s and he was a long-time contributor to Treasure in the 1960s, producing some delightful covers, usually featuring animals and children.
Eric Arthur James Tansley was born in Gillingham, Kent, on 6 May 1916. He was living in London at 86 Cannon Street, E.C.4 in 1950 and subsequently drifted south through a series of addresses: 90 Warham Road, South Croydon [1953/55], 96 Moat Road, East Grinstead, W. Sussex [1958/59], 32 Reigate Road, Brighton, E. Sussex [1962/69], 20 Kings Drive, Pagham, W. Sussex [1970/72] and finally Claremont, Brook Furlong, Bembridge, Isle of Wight [1975/78]. He died on the Isle of Wight on 27 July 1979. He was buried at Bembridge Cemetery. Tansley was married to (1) Evelyn M. Griffin in 1939 and (2) June Tansley (nee Wilkinson) in 1959. He had one daughter by his first marriage.
Birds of the Field and Woodland. London & Glasgow, Blackie & Son, 1948.
Birds of the Hill, Moor and Marsh. London & Glasgow, Blackie & Son, 1950.
Fishing. Maidenhead, Purnell, Sep 1975.
My First Mother Goose, by Philip Brown. Wilcox & Follett Co., 1946.
Snow Dog, by Jim Elgard. London, John Lehmann, 1949.
Spotlight on Animals, by Chapman Pincher. London, Hutchinson & Co., 1950.
The Flag from the Isles, by William Croft Dickinson. London, Jonathan Cape, 1951.
Ajax, Golden Dog of the Australian Bush, by Mary Elwyn Pratchett. Indianapolis, Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1953.
Trouble in the Big Top, by Lane Mitchell. London & Glasgow, Blackie & son, 1956.
Conspiracy at Abbey, by Eric Leyland. London, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1957.
Pocomonto and the Spanish Steed, by Rex Dixon. London, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1957.
Rebellion at Prior's, by Eric Leyland. London, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1957.
Stop Thief, by Eric Leyland. London, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1957.
Ivanhoe, by Walter Scott. London, Weidenfeld & Nicholson (Heirloom Library), n.d. (1950s?).
The Book of the West. An epic of America's wild frontier and the men who created its legends, by Charles Chilton. Indianapolis, Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1962.
Interesting British Birds, by Kathleen N. Daly; illus. with Robert Aitchen. London, Blackie & Son, 1969.
Love and Marriage, by Edward Lyndoe. London, Spearman, 1970.
Ajax the Warrior, by Mary Elwyn Pratchett. Harmondsworth, Puffin Books, 1972.
Uncle Whiskers, by Philip Brown. London, Andre Deutsch, Nov 1974.
(* All artwork shown here appeared in Treasure in 1964-65 and is © Look and Learn Magazine Ltd. None of Tansley's books appear to be in print, but some are available second-hand. Many thanks to John Phemister for the photo of Tansley's gravestone, taken 11 November 2011.)