Sunday, November 19, 2006

Hilda Boswell

Hilda Boswell produced a single contribution to Swift Annual 1961 (1960) but is very well known to collectors of Enid Blyton's books as she produced a number of dust jacket illustrations. Some very nice examples can be found at Heather's Blyton Pages where the author notes, "The gorgeous illustrations have made copies of [these books] with an intact dust jacket incredibly difficult to find -- they are snapped up by collectors immediately!"

Hilda Boswell was born in London on 8 October 1903, the daughter of an architect, and studied at Hornsey School of Art and the Regent Street Polytechnic. She lived in north London from the age of 11 until her death. In the late 1930s, she began producing comic strips for some of the Amalgamated Press comics, The Butterfly, Sparkler, Crackers and Jingles.

She began writing children's books in the early 1940s. Working mostly in watercolour, she often producing illustrations for her own books. She produced some notable (and collectable) volumes, including the 'treasury' series of titles which included Hilda Boswell's Treaury of Nursery Rhymes, Hilda Boswell's Treaury of Fairy Tales, Hilda Boswell's Treasury of Poetry and Hilda Boswell's Treasury of Children's Stories.

Boswell died in London on 30 October 1976.

Books for children
Edward and Gumbo. London, R. A. Publishing Co., 1943.
Golden-Leaf. London, R. A. Publishing Co., 1943?
Jenny's Fairy Year. A story about the seasons. London, "Token" Productions, 1945.
The Whimsical Piglet. London, 1948.
The Little Birthday Horse. London, Hutchinson's Books for Young People, 1950.
Fairy Tales. London, Collins, 1954.
The Lucky Ladybirds. London, Collins, c.1954?
Sooty the Little Black Engine. London, Collins, c.1954?
Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes and Stories. London & Glasgow, Sunshine Press, 1956.
Nursery Rhyme-Land. London, The Children's Press, 1959.
My Book of Fairy Tales. London, Infants Colour Books, 1959.
Hilda Boswell's Treasury of Nursery Rhymes. London, Collins, 1960.
Jingle Time. A book of nursery verses for children. London & Glasgow, Collins, 1960.
Hilda Boswell's Treasury of Fairy Tales. London, William Collins Sons & Co., 1962.
Our Favourite Story Book. London, Collins, 1962.
Hilda Boswell's Little Boy Blue Nursery Rhymes. London & Glasgow, Collins, 1964.
Little Crazy Car. London & Glasgow, Collins, 1965.
The Good Luck Engine. London & Glasgow, Collins, 1966.
Hey, Diddle Diddle! Nursery rhymes. London, Collins, 1966.
Hilda Boswell's Treasury of Poetry. London & Glasgow, Collins, 1968.
Hilda Boswell's Treasury of Children's Stories. A new anthology of stories for the young. London, Collins, 1971.
Hilda Boswell's Omnibus. A treasury of favourites. London, Collins, 1972.
Mother Hubbard's Nursery Rhyme Book. London & Glasgow, Collins, 1976.
A Hilda Boswell Little Treasury [Blue, Orange, Green, Yellow]. London, Collins Colour Cubs, 4 vols, 1980; reissued as Hilda Boswell's Red Treasury, Hilda Boswell's Blue Treasury, Hilda Boswell's Yellow Treasury and Hilda Boswell's Green Treasury, London, Carnival, 1988.

The Omnibus Reader Book Two by Anita Richards. London, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1940?
Chippity Cuckoo by Edith M. Bell. London & Redhill, Lutterworth Press, 1944.
The Pigs Give a Party by Beatrice Lomax. Manchester, H. A. & W. W. Pitkin, 1945.
Lollipop Wood by John Paddy Carstairs. London, Hutchinson's Books for Young People, 1946.
The Tabby Fur Family by Tracey May. London, R. A. Publishing Co., 1948.
Titania Had a Daughter by Joyce Cecilia Dixon. London, C. & J. Temple, 1948.
Biddy the Brownie by M. Vera Armstrong. London & New York, Frederick Warne & Co., 1949.
Snowdrop and the Seven Dwarfs by Derek McCulloch (Uncle Mac). London, Sampson Low Marston, 1949.
Grimm's Fairy Tales. London, Collins' Clear-Type Press, n.d. (1950s?).
At the Market by D. Gwyneth M. Thomas. Edinburgh, McDougall's Educational Co., 1955.
A Visit to the Farm by D. Gwyneth M. Thomas. Edinburgh, McDougall's Educational Co., 1955.
Nine New Fairy Stories by Michael West. London, Longman, 1957.
Brownies and Boggarts, adapted by Esmee Mascall from The Brownies by Mrs. Ewing. Edinburgh, McDougall's Educational Co., 1957.
Snowball Sees the World by Florence Edwards. Edinburgh, McDougall's Educational Co., 1957.
The End of the Rainbow by Christine Chaundler. Edinburgh, McDougall's Educational Co., 1958.
Pinocchio. The story of a puppet, adapted by Esmee Mascall. Edinburgh, McDougall's Educational Co., 1958.
The Magic Chestnut by Edith Ellen Ellsworth. London, Lutterworth Press, 1961.
New Vanguard readers [series] by Pearl Kettles & Ruby A. D. Macdonald. Edinburgh, McDougall Educational Co., 1962- .
A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. London, Collins, 1963.

(* The top picture comes from Robin Annual 6 (1958) and is © Look and Learn Magazine Ltd.)


  1. Hi Steve

    I've been looking for a book for years that you make mention of on your blog - It's Lollipop Wood by John Paddy Carstairs. London, Hutchinson's Books for Young People, 1946.

    I don't suppose you have an ISBN no and also I wondered if it is the book I'm searching for. About three Koalas called Riddle Me and Ree who are a fraid of the Boogie Woogie? It was the book our mother read to us most as children and I'd love to find a copy.

    Hope you can help.

    M Packer

  2. Hi M.,

    1946 is long before ISBN numbers came into existence so there won't be any way to track down the book other than by author and title. I've had a quick look around the web and can't see any copies other than those at the copyright libraries -- British Library, Bodleian Library, National Library of Scotland and Trinity College, Dublin. Presumably it had an especially low print run due to the post-war paper shortage.



  3. We had a copy of this book as children but I don't know where it's gone - I've been trying to find it too. Let's hope Google find a copy and index it!

  4. Hi Steve,
    I bought my daughter Hilda Boswell's book of Nursery Rhymes recently, and my husband remembers her illustrations for Enid Blyton;

    Wonder if you can help? We would love to buy an original watercolour by her and have been looking around at Print and drawing fairs and galleries - but even The Chris Beetles gallery has never had any work by her and wondering if you know if any still exists and where it might be ? Publishers? Her family?

    I'm on a quest now!
    Thanks - I'd be grateful for any ideas you may have !

  5. Hilda Boswell was my GodMother's sister. I met her as a child and have many of her books. My Godmother is still alive and she is also a very talented artist.

  6. Hi Anonymous,

    If you care to share any information about Hilda, please do - you can drop me a line direct at the e-mail address below the photo (top left). Did you Godmother also illustrated children's books?

  7. Hi Steve,

    I wonder if you could give me some information where can I buy rights to republish Hilda Boswell's books?
    I have contacted Harper Collins several times for Treasury of Children Stories, but none of their response to it.

  8. I imagine copyright now rests with her heirs. If our anonymous contributor above could get in touch (my direct e-mail address can be found below the photo), it may be possible to put you in touch with potential publishers.

  9. I remember Hilda Boswell from my very first job with Collins the publishers in Glasgow. Her artwork was simply superb and I spent many an hour just looking at them. There was so many in the editorial dept where I worked.



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