Monday, November 20, 2006

Roma (Rosemary Brown)

The artist Roma signed pages in a variety of annuals in the early 1960s and has been something of a mystery to me. But this evening I have a theory. Let me run it by you.

Roma was the pen-name for artist Rosemary Brown. My thinking goes like this. Roma signed pages in Robin Annual 6, 7 and 1962 (9). Now, like Swift Annual, Robin Annual also had a list of contributors in each volume and the only two names that contribute specifically to those editions are Dorothy Heather and Rosemary Brown. I can't see how you would derive Roma from Dorothy Heather but Roma... Rosemary... see?

Roma had quite a nice, flexible style that seems to have been put to use on a number of different strips as you'll see from the little gallery below. Roma contributed to Robin Annual, Girl Annual and the Nutty Noddle Annual (a spin-off from Robin) in around 1958-62. In 1963, Roma begins drawing a strip for Teddy Bear about 'Nurse Susan and Doctor David'. Now, Teddy Bear ran until 1973 and, in 1974, R0semary Brown began drawing 'The Dolly Girls' for Bonnie which continued in Playhour (the two papers merged in 1975) until 1987 with occasional breaks.

The style of 'The Dolly Girls' is quite different to the earlier illustrations but, as I said, 'Roma' had quite a flexible style. One last thing to note, namely that Rosemary Brown illustrated a number of books (as listed below) and, although she was very prolific for ten years, I can't find anything after 1957. If my theory is correct, she then became 'Roma', working for a variety of Hulton and Fleetway annuals and weeklies. I'm quite expecting to have my theory shot down but, at this precise moment, it's the best theory I have.

Robin Annual 7 (1959)

Robin Annual 1962 (1961)

Nutty Noddle Annual 1963 (1962)

Nutty Noddle Annual 1963 (1962)

Teddy Bear's Toybox 1966 (1965)

Playhour, 3 July 1976

Update (23 November)
I've just spotted a note I made that 'Roma' worked for the weekly Robin, producing back cover pictures in the early 1960s, via an agency, Sheldon Studio. Also, produced the following page (and probably others) for Once Upon a Time in 1969.

Once Upon a Time, 8 November 1969.

Illustrated Books

Eating and Drinking. A miscellany compiled by Madge Hart. London, Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1947.
Joyful Steps to Reading by Irene Downie. London, Macmillan & Co., 6pts, 1948.
The New Elf by Winifred Wilson. London, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1948.
The Secret of Dewberry Farm by Margaret & Peter Meiklejohn. London, Kerr-Cros Publishing Co., 1948.
The Secret of the Castle by R. A. E. Walker. London, Blandford Press, 1948.
The Seaside by
Up the River and Over the Lea by John Corden Uncles. London, Evans Press, 1949.
New Method English for the Arab World by Michael Philip West. London, Longmans, Green & Co., 1951.
The Magic Slippers, and other stories by Betty Lumsden Milne. London, Longmans, Green & Co., 1951.
Teacher's Handbook by Michael Philip West. London, Longmans, Green & Co., 1951.
Grade I Reader by Michael Philip West. London, Longmans, Green & Co., 1952.
The First Men in the Moon by H. G. Wells, edited and abridged by Latif Doss. London, Longmans, Green & Co., 1954.
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, shortened and simplified by G. C. Thornley. London, Longmans, Green & Co., 1954.
Magic Charms at the Market by Margaret Kent. Dunstable, privately published, 1956.
Seven Little Plays by J. G. & M. Endicott, simplified by Michael West. London, Longman, 1957.

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