Thursday, November 23, 2006

Daphne Rowles

I have been unable to find out anything about Daphne B. Rowles, who was a regular artist in both Swift weekly and the Swift Annual. She is best known as the artist of 'Nicky Nobody', the story of a young, wandering orphan and his dog Chum, written by Bill Wellings. Looking through the annuals for a suitable illustration, I realised that she had not drawn the strip in the first two annuals, which made me wonder whether she was the sole artist on the weekly as she is usually credited. A quick look through the first volume of Swift reveals that at least two other artists started the strip. I'll have to check later volumes to see when Daphne Rowles took over.

Daphne Rowles would appear to have been the early artist for 'The Sign of the Scarlet Ladybird', the advertising strip for the Ladybird clothing line (see my notes on E. W. Pasold for more details). She also produced advertising artwork for Haworth & Company. Perhaps a coincidence but artists by the names of Stanley C[harles] Rowles and Lilian Rowles also did the same (the reference for this comes from here, the original written in Portuguese). A Google search for Stanley doesn't turn up much but Lilian would seem to have been a painter and illustrator who worked for The Illustrated London News amongst others in the 1930s. She worked on advertising campaigns for Nestle Milk and seems to have made a career of drawing very young children. There are plenty of prints and postcards of offer by Lilian.

[some digging around later...]

Stanley Charles Rowles, A.R.C.A., was educated at Putney School of Art and Battersea Polytechnic and would seem to specialise in marine art. He was married to Mrs. Lilian M. B. Rowles, educated at West Bromwich School of Art. Stanley was living at 56 Lillieshall Road, Battersea, S.W.4, in 1922, moving to 16 Shottfield Avenue, Putney, London S.W.14 around 1923 and then to 22 Hertford Avenue, S.W.14 around 1930. Stanley is still listed at that address at least until 1966. (There's a Stanley Charles Rowles born in Wandsworth in 1887 who might be 'our' Stanley. Son of Henry S. Rowles (a head teacher at a boarding school) and his wife Sarah A. Rowles.

[a bit more digging...]

Seems that Henry Samuel Rowles (b. 1861) married Sarah Agnes Forrest at Wandsworth in 1885.

Er... that's enough Rowles for one day. I've no idea whether Stanley and Lilian Rowles are in any way related to Daphne B. Rowles but it seems possible... [update: 6 May 2008] It would seem my guess was correct; I've been assured that Daphne was indeed the daughter of Stanley C. and Lilian Rowles. Further information to hopefully follow.

The Everyday A.B.C.. London, 1953?

Illustrated Books
The Three Clerks by Anthony Trollope; simplified by A. L. Walker. London, Longmans, Green & Co., 1952.
Let's Find Out. A teacher's handbook of lessons on everyday things by Gladys Plummer & Dorothy Emily White. London, Longmans, Green & Co., 2 vols., 1953; as J'Observe et je Cherche, traduit et adapté pour le Congo Belge par J.F. Carrington et O.W. Sorgel. Londres, Longmans, Green et Cie, 3 vols., 1955.
Nicky Nobody and the Rocket Spies by Bill Wellings. London, Hulton Press, 1958.
Learn and Act by Margaret Baker. London, Longmans, 4 vols., 1962-68.
An Introduction to Learning English by J. M. Miller. London, Longmans, 1963.
Jamie on His Own by Elisabeth Batt. London, Lutterworth Press, 1963.
Know Your Pupils byb Wilfrid Patridge. London, Longmans, 1963.
English Grammar and Exercises by Leslie Chapman. London, Longmans, 1964- .
The Hidey-Hole by Enid Blyton. London, Lutterworth Press, 1964.
Three Secret Seeds by Joyce Reason. London, Lutterworth Press, 1964.
A Graded Secondary School English Course by Alan Etherton & Granville Thornley. London, Longmans, Green & Co., 5 vols., 1964-65. [some vols. illus. by James Moss]
The Fire-Escape by Joyce Reason. London, Lutterworth Press (Junior Gateway 6), 1965.
Here Comes Thursday! by Michael Bond. London, George Harrap & Co., 1966.
Wild Cat Ginger's Family by Campbell K. Finlay. London, George Harrap & Co., 1966.
Bears Back in Business by Margaret Baker. London, George G. Harrap & Co., 1967.
The Scarlet Runners by Elisabeth Batt. London, Lutterworth Press (Junior Gateway 8), 1967.

(* The 'Nicky Nobody' strip is from Swift Annual 3 (1956) and is © IPC Media.)


  1. Daphne Rowles (1922-1967) had one sibling Peter (1924-?). I am a distant cousin of hers and am digging through some family notes at the moment ...

  2. I hope you'll pass on more information as you come to it. As you'll have seen, I wasn't able to find out very much about her... something that's true of a lot of artists who died before the 1970s, which is when people first started taking notice of the artists in British comics. I'm sorry to see that she died very young.

  3. Kim Stevens has a set of 6 Sindy Adventure books by Young World Publications, which are illustrated by Daphne Rowles. The books are uncredited and undated but she signs some of the illustrations. As the books feature Paul, her boyfriend, and Patch, her young sister, who were introduced to the Pedigree Doll range in 1965 and 1966 respectively, these must date from 1966/67 and be among some of her last works.

  4. Daphne had one brother, Peter Gordon B. Rowles, 1925-2003. Peter was living with Daphne two years prior to her death in 1967, at 22 Hertford Avenue in Surrey, England. I suspect that the "B." in both their names is for "Bevis".

  5. Following up the conversation 3 years later ... each of them did indeed have the middle name Bevis. Daphne died at 22 Hertford Avenue, East Sheen, London S.W.14 on 6 February 1967, and was listed as "Commercial Artist". See the London Gazette (



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