Saturday, March 07, 2009

Jennetta Vise

Jennetta Vise was one of the regular contributors to Robin Annual, producing illustrations for the first nine annuals (1953-62) and also credited amongst the writers for annuals 2 to 5. Note the spelling: when I originally wrote briefly about Ms. Vise back in June 2007 I followed the spelling in the annuals, Jenetta Vise, only to have to correct myself a few days later when it became clear her name was actually spelt with a double 'n': Jennetta.

With the correct spelling, I was able to track down an address for Jennetta Vise: she was living in London in the 1950s at two different addresses during the period she was illustrating for Robin and Robin Annual—75 Carter Lane E.C.4 (1947/55) and 45 Jenner House, Hunter Street, W.C.1 (1958/75). Before the war she lived with her parents at 23 Churston Mansions, Gray's In Road (1934/35) and 81 Parliament Hill Mansions, Lissenden Gardens (1936/47).

Marjorie Jennetta Blithe Vise was born in Fulham on 9 September 1912, the daughter of journalist R. Toye Vise and his wife Ethel Maud (nee Badrick). Her middle names, Jennetta and Blithe were both family names (our artist's paternal grandmother was named Jennetta Vise).

Apart from her prolific output of book illustrations, I believe Jennetta Vise was also the artist for 'Bingo, Bango and Bongo' who appeared in the weekly Robin between 1953 and 1957.

I've recently heard from Nigel Cooper, who tells me that his mother was Jennetta Vise's housekeeper at her later home, a small country cottage in the north west Sussex village of Plaistow.

"She was always known as Miss Vise," says Nigel, adding, "although I cannot confirm this any further as my mother passed away a few years after Jennetta, we knew that she was regularly visited by a member of the Letts' "Diary" family. I believe his name could have been Donald and, after her death, it was he that saw to the removal of her goods from the cottage.

"During the time that we knew her she was doing the illustrations for "Andy Pandy". She was sent the stories and then added the illustrations." It seems probably that this would have been the weekly "Andy Pandy" strip that appeared in Pippin in the 1970s.

Marjorie Jennetta Vise died in late 1979, her death registered at Chichester.

Update (24 June 2011)
I've recently had a very informative e-mail from Philip Burton which, with his permission, I'm posting below as it offers an interesting portrait of Jennetta Vise and her work in the 1940s/1950s:

The details you have on the Bear Alley blogspot caught my attention because I was a close friend of Jennetta Vise in the late 1940s/early 1950s, although she was many years older than me.
__We shared an office in a technical book publishing department of George Newnes Ltd just off the Strand.  She worked there as a sub-editor, because it provided a useful income until such time as she was ready to get a studio and develop work as an artist. Presumably she had been to art college, but I never knew where or when. Her tiny studio at 75 Carter Lane, near St Pauls, was on the top-floor of an office building occupied by a small trade magazine publisher.  She did not live there; it was merely  an office building with limited facilities but she worked there frequently late into evenings (as freelances typically do) long after the office workers had departed.  Her home I believe was in Hampstead area at that time, possibly still with her parents. I never went to the later Hunter Street address or to Sussex where she moved later.
__She had an older sister, Barbara, a successful journalist, gregarious and more extrovert, unlike Jennetta who was a very private but equally-friendly person.
__I met their father Toye Vise a couple of times, He told me he had been working on the Daily News or the Daily Chronicle when they merged to be the News Chronicle (also long gone)  and he volunteered for redundancy and became a freelance journalist. He is credited with contributions to Bear Alley, etc, according to Google references.
__I lost touch with them in the 1950s when I was out of the country for a while and then failed subsequently to revive the relationships - to my great regret later, although I had occasional news of them third-hand. Still, I was delighted to find, not least by the list you have made, that Jennetta had apparently been so immensely  successful.
__She also worked on a book - Savoyard Scrapbook (D’Oyly Carte Opera lyrics)  - for which she did illustrations of the W S Gilbert characters for the text and also its dust jacket colour drawing of a Victorian music-hall interior (based on a visit to Lewisham Hippodrome, my local at the time) and its audience. Published in 1947 by  Herbert Joseph Ltd.
A quick additional note: Jennetta's sister would be Barbara Elizabeth Drake Vise, whose birth was registered in Fulham on 19 March 1908. She was married to Lawrence P. Dealtry in London in 1961; he died only two years later, in London in 1963; she survived him by only eight years, her death registered in Reading, Berkshire, in 1971, aged 63. It would seem that neither Jennetta nor her sister had any children.

Illustrated Books
The Getabout Bird by Madeleine Collier. London, George Newnes, 1944.
The Noddles by Madeleine Collier. London, George Newnes, 1944.
The Noddles Again by Madeleine Collier. London, George Newnes, 1944.
Waht About a Family? by Lenore Maude Chaloner. London, C. Arthur Pearson, 1944.
Tom Brown's Schooldays by Thomas Hughes, retold by Mary Farrer. Ewell & London, Studley Press, 1946.
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, retold by Mary Farrer. Ewell & London, Studley Press, 1946.
London Lover. Songs of a city's romance by Trevor Allen. London, Golden Galley Press, 1947.
Names for Every Child. A guide to personal names and meanings by Christine Campbell Thomson. London, Banner Books, 1947.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, retold by Mary Farrer. Ewell & London, Studley Press, 1948.
At the Foot of the Wooden Hill by Lynda Bartlett. London, George G. Harrap & Co., 1948.
The Caravan Goes West by Lucy W. Bellhouse. London, London, George G. Harrap & Co., 1948.
Cookery for Men Only or I.Y.G.T.T.L.A.F. by Wilson Midgley. London, Chaterson, 1948.
Fables for Children by Irene Pearl. London, Oxford University Press, 1948.
Good Morning, Mr. Manners by Rose Henniker. London, Latimer House, 1948.
Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott, retold by Mary Farrer. Ewell & London, Studley Press, 1948.
My Diary and Peter Otter's by Kenneth Grenville Myers (diary). London, Charles Letts, 1948.
My Diary and Bushy Squirrel's by Kenneth Grenville Myers (diary). London, Charles Letts, 1948; as The Story of Bushy Squirrel and Me, London, Charles Letts, 1951.
A Night on Peter's Mountain by Eileen Mathias. London, George G. Harrap & Co., 1948.
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, retold by Mary Farrer. Ewell & London, Studley Press, 1948.
The Terrible Turk and his Ten Talkative Daughters by Wilson Midgley. London, Oxford University Press, 1948.
Mary Jones and Her Bible, revised and rewritten by Mary Carter. London, The British and Foreign Bible Society, 1949.
The Nine Lives of Crusoe. His First Life by Margaret Alleyne. London, Herbert Joseph, 1949.
The Nine Lives of Crusoe. His Second Life by Margaret Alleyne. London, Herbert Joseph, 1949.
The Nine Lives of Crusoe. His Third Life by Margaret Alleyne. London, Herbert Joseph, 1949.
Fiddle-de-dee and other gay way rhymes by E. R. Boyce. London, (Gay Way series), 1951.
Higgledy Piggledy and other gay way rhymes by E. R. Boyce. London, (Gay Way series), 1951.
Brighter Grammar by C. E. Eckersley & Margaret Macauley. London, London, Longmans, Green & Co., 4 vols., 1952-53.
The Youth Club Book of Recreation. 186 games and competitions for the teen-ager by Esther Burgess. Glasgow, Brown, Son & Ferguson, 1954.
A First French Reader by W. F. H. Whitmarsh. London, Longmans, Green & Co., 1955.
Key Words for Easy Spelling by Timotheos I. Phutikides. London, Longmans, Green & Co., 1955.
The Scottish Pupil's Spelling Book. London, University of London Press, 5 vols., 1955-56.
Les Beaux jours. A French reader for junior forms by H. F. Collins. London, Macmillan & Co., 1956.
Trefoil Tales. True stories of how the Guide movement grew up by Vera Armstrong, Elizabeth Hartley, Alix Liddell. London, C. Arthur Pearson, 1956 [1957].
The Helpful Giant by Eileen A. Arthurton. London, Macmillan & Co., 1957.
Histoires Sportives by Claire Andree Roe. London, Longmans, Green & Co., 1957.
Paul et Jacqueline by Albert Lucien Carre. London, University of London Press, 1957.
The True Book about Girl Guides by Alex LIddell. London, Frederick Muller, 1957.
A Crust of Bread by Andre Drucker. London, University of London Press, 1958.
Fluent French Comedies by C. S. Elston. London, University of London Press, 1958.
Just Mary Stories by Mary Evelyn Grannan. London, Frederick Warne & Co., 1958.
Better Spoken English by Geoffrey L. Barnard. London, Macmillan & Co., 1959.
More Just Mary Stories by Mary Evelyn Grannan. London, Frederick Warne & Co., 1959.
Let's Look Around. An introduction to practical geography by R. J. Candy. London, Macmillan & Co., 1960.
A Ring of Stories by Stella Mead. London, University of London Press, 1960.
Wild Rose of the King's Chase by Hilda Moss. London & New York, Frederick Warne & Co., 1960.
A Yellow Robin Story Book, illus. with David Walsh. London, Longacre Press, 1960.
The Brownie Book by Ailsa Brambleby. London, Girl Guides Association, 1961; later editions as The Brownie Guide Handbook.
The Children's Book of Russian Folk-tales by Karin Nowak. London, George G. Harrap & Co., 1961.
Cornerstone Mathematics by Ruth E. Harris. London, Macmillan, 6 vols., 1961-66; revised in 10 vols., 1969-71?
The Golden Bar Book of Brownie Stories by Robert Moss. Glasgow, Brown, Son & Ferguson, 1961.
Measuring is Fun by Frederick J. Vickery. London, Macmillan & Co., 1961; New York, St. Martin's Press, 2 vols., 1961.
New Girl by Joan Selby Lowndes. London, Faith Press, 1961.
Housecraft by Winifred Burman, M. Pleydell-Bouverie & M. I. Urquhart, illus. by Jennetta Vise & N. Manwaring. London, Macmillan & Co., 1962; New York, St. Martin's Press, 1962.
Why? by Ivy C. Joslin. London, 3 vols., 1962-64.
More Tales for Brownies by Ailsa Brambleby. Glasgow, Brown, Son & Ferguson, 1963.
Practice in Spoken English. An anthology of exercises in English sounds by Geoffrey Leonard Barnard & Patrick Seagrove Mackay. London, Macmillan, 1963.
Sunny Sambo's First [Second, Third] Book by C. W. Hill. London, Frederick Warne & Co., 3 vols., 1963.
Three for Trouble by Ailsa Brambleby. Leicester, Brockhampton Press, 1963.
How Johnson was Cured of Boasting by Robert Ian Clamp. London, Macmillan & Co., 1964.
Three for Pack Holiday by Ailsa Brambleby. Leicester, Brockhampton Press, 1964.
Mr. Nenn and His Friends by J. Kenneth Jones. London, Nelson, 1967.
The Magic Roundabout, ed. Rosemary Garland. London, Young World Productions, 1968?
Wait Till I Tell You. A story for Irish Brownies by Dorothy Richardson. Glasgow, Brown, Son & Ferguson, 1969.

(* 'The Owl and the Pussy Cat' is from Robin Annual 4 (1956) and is © Look and Learn Magazine Ltd. With thanks to Nigel Cooper and Philip Burton.)


  1. Wow. Thank you for this wonderful post on Ms Vise. If you also have a photograph of her, could you please post it here.

    Best wishes,
    Sydney, Australia 31 March 2012

  2. You might be interested to know that she was an illustrator for Girlguiding UK (formerly the Girl Guides Association) from about 1947 to about 1986.

    According to our records she trained at L'Ecole des Beaux Arts and at the Sorbonne

    Karen Stapley
    Girlguiding UK

  3. Apologies, typing error - she was an illustrator right up until her death in 1979 (not 1986)

  4. Thanks, Karen. Any additional information is always welcome.

  5. I was looking up about Jennetta Vise because I loved her illustrations when I was associated with Girl Guiding. She illustrated the Brownie Guide Handbook and the weekly editions of The Brownie magazine in the 1960's and 70's. There is a quality to the illustrations which encapsulated the enthusiasm that the Guide movement hoped to inspire. I hoped that she had illustrated other books and now I know. Thank you for your diligence in compiling the list of her work. Many thanks. Evelyn



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