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Sunday, August 20, 2017

W H C Groome

Robert J Kirkpatrick

W.H.C. Groome was one of the most prolific children’s book illustrators of his era, while also being a highly skilled and respected watercolour artist. Surprisingly, perhaps, he appears to have been entirely self-taught.

He was born on 17 November 1854 at 10 St. Ann’s Place, Westminster, and baptised, as William Henry Charles Groome, on 10 December 1854 at St. Stephen’s Church, Westminster. His family background was fairly humble – his father, William Charles Groome (1823-1900) was a waiter, and the son of a carpenter; his mother, Frances (ne√© Timpson, 1818-1868) was a cook working in Charing Cross, the daughter of a worker on the Earl of Westmoreland’s estate at Apethorpe, Northamptonshire. They had married in the church of St. Martin’s in the Fields, Westminster, in February 1852. William Henry Charles was the first of three children –  his sister Ann Elizabeth was born in 1857 (died 1946), and his brother Frederick was born in 1860, and died a year later. His mother died in 1868.

By the age of 17, Groome was working as a barrister’s clerk, living with his father at 40 Maiden Lane, Westminster. He married Eliza Horner, born in London in 1850, and baptised at St. Pancras Church, Camden, on 22 May 1820, the daughter of William, a traveller, and his wife Ann), on 14 August 1878 at St. Andrew’s Church, Holborn. She was a single parent, having had a daughter, Ann Ellen (or Ellen Ann), in September 1868  –  in the baptism register, the name of Ann Ellen’s father has been rubbed out.

At the time of the 1881 census, William and Eliza were living at 9 Hereford Road, Marylebone, with William still working as a barrister’s clerk. His sister Ann, a housemaid and domestic servant, was living with him, along with his wife’s daughter Ellen. William and Eliza had already had the first of their three children, Edith Frances, born in Luddington, Northamptonshire on 22 September 1879 (when the family was visiting relatives);  they went on to have two more, Arthur Francis, born in Bayswater, London, on 11 June 1882, and Leslie, born in Ealing on 12 May 1884.

By then, Groome had already begun making a name for himself as an artist, exhibiting at the 1883 and 1884 exhibitions of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours in Piccadilly. His first book illustrations appear to have been commissioned in around 1888, and by the time of the 1891 census, when he was living at 31 Denmark Road, Ealing (having moved from an earlier address at 2 Arlington Road, Castle Hill Park Ealing) he was describing himself as a “black and white artist and sculptor,” although he did not establish himself as a regular book illustrator until the mid-1890s. He then became particularly associated with the publishers Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., and, in particular, W. & R. Chambers, for whom he illustrated at least 10 boys’ adventure stories by George Manville Fenn. Other publishers he worked for included S.W. Partridge & Co., the Religious Tract Society, and Thomas Nelson & Sons (for whom he illustrated reprints of several books by R.M. Ballantyne). More notably, he was chosen to illustrate eight books by Charles Dickens when they were re-issued in a uniform set by Collins in 1907.

Throughout the 1890s he also provided illustrations for a variety of periodicals, including The Children’s Friend, The Mother’s Companion, The Friendly Visitor (all published by S.W. Partridge & Co.), The Boy’s Own Paper, The Boys’ Sunday Monthly, The Girl’s Own Paper, Sunday at Home (all published by the Religious Tract Society), Chums, Little Folks (both published by Cassell & Co.), Boys (published by Sampson Low, Marston & Co..), and The Illustrated London News.  In 1892, he designed a set of Christmas cards for the art publisher Hildesheimer & Faulkner. He signed his work either “WHC Groome” or simply “WHCG.” His early illustrations were often well-executed but static, whereas later he became adept at capturing moments of action and drama, with lots of movement .

By 1901, and living at 78 Coldershaw Road, Ealing, Groome was a member of the Royal Society of British Artists and had exhibited at the Royal Academy. (In contrast, his two sons, Arthur and Leslie, were both working as railway clerks). By then, having moved to Ealing in 1884, he had immersed himself in local politics, joining the Liberal Party and becoming a long-standing member of the Council (although his first term in office ended because of ill-health). He served on the Baths, Fire Brigade, Works, Highways, General Purposes, Housing and Library Committees. By 1911, he was the Vice-President of the Ealing Liberal and Radical Association.

He remained at Coldershaw Road for the rest of his life. In October 1913, in poor health, he and his wife went to stay at 9 Grafton Street, Brighton, in the hope that the sea air would help him recover, but he died there, of a cerebral haemorrhage, on 14 October. He was buried in the Westminster Cemetery in Hanwell, Ealing  –  his gravestone bears the simple inscription “He did his best.” He left an estate valued at just over £419 (around £40,000 in today’s terms). His wife died in Hendon, Middlesex, on 1 July 1931.


Illustrated Books
When I’m a Man, or Little Saint Christopher by Alice Webber, Griffith, Farran & Co., 1888
The King’s Daughter by “Pansy” (i.e. I.A. Alden), S.W. Partridge & Co., 1888
The King’s Diadem by Annie Gray, Sunday School Union, 1890
The Sound of the Streets by Robert J.L. O’Reilly, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1892
John’s Lily by Eleanor C. Price, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1894
The New Housemaster by Charles Edwardes, Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1895
Battles of the Nineteenth Century by Archibald Forbes, etc., Cassell & Co., 1895
Sweetheaet Travellers by S.R. Crockett, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1895
This and That and Other Chat: A Charming Illustrated Alphabet in Rhyme by (anon.), (with other artists), W.B. Conkey Co., 1895
The South Sea Whaler by W.H.G. Kingston, T. Nelson & Sons, 1896
The Austin Prize by (Anon.), Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1896
The Silver Flagon by (Anon.), Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1896
Vince the Rebel, or The Sanctuary in the Bog by George Manville Fenn, W. & R. Chambers, 1897
The Fortunes of the Charlton Family by (Anon.), Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1898
Nic Revel: A White Slave’s Adventures in Allihator Land by George Manville Fenn, W. & R. Chambers, 1898
Billy Binks, Hero by Guy Boothby, W. & R. Chambers, 1898   
Stories for Children in Illustration of the Lord’s Prayer by Mrs Molesworth, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1898
Dash and Daring, Being Stories by G.A. Henty and Others, W. & R. Chambers, 1898
The Girls of St. Wode’s by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1898
Draw Swords! In the Horse Artillery by George Manville Fenn, W. & R. Chambers, 1898
Fix Bay’nets! Or The Regiment in the Hills by George Manville Fenn, W. & R. Chambers, 1899
Cyril the Foundling: A Tale of the Puritans and Cavaliers by (Anon.), Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1899
Ilsa the Windchild by Dora C. Jellett, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1899
Rags and Tatters: A Story for Boys and Girls by Stella Austin, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1899
Sunny Stories of the Sea by (Anon.), Ernest Nister, 1899
In Doors and Out: A Book of Pictures and Stories for Little Folk, Blackie & Son, 1899
Charge! or Briton and Boer By George Manville Fenn, W. & R. Chambers, 1900
Fine Gold, or Ravenswood Courtenay by Emma Marshall, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1900?
Sylvia’s Romance by Marion Andrews, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1900
Some Ups and Downs by Raymond Jacberns, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1900
The Story of Johnny Bertram by D.B. McKean, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1900
Brownie by Amy Le Feuvre, Hodder & Stoughton, 1900
In Lionland: The Story of Livingstone and Stanley by M. Douglas, T. Nelson & Sons, 1900
The Crew of the “Jolly Sandboy” by Julia Hack, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1900
Laura Richmond by Jean Ingelow, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1901
The Gold that Perisheth by David Lyall, Religious Tract Society, 1901
Stumps: A Story for Children by Stella Austin, Wells Gardner, Darton & Col., 1901 (re-issue)
Sunny Days for Boys and Girls  1901(?)
Stan Lynn: A Boy’s Adventures in China by George Manville Fenn, W. & R. Chambers, 1902
All Astray: The Travels and Adventures of Two Cherubs by Ascott R. Hope, A. & C. Black, 1902
Great-Grandmother’s Shoes: A Story for Children by Stella Austin, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1902
Pixie O’Shaughnessy by Mrs George de Horne Vaizey, Religious Tract Society, 1902
Fred Malcolm and His Friends by (Anon.), Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1902
Brave and True and Other Stories, Written by G. Manville Fenn etc., Ernest Nister, 1902
Afar in the Forest: A Tale of Adventure in North America by W.H.G. Kingston, T. Nelson & Sons, 1903 (re-issue)
A Gay Charmer: A Story for Girls by L.T. Meade, W. & R. Chambers, 1903
The Constable’s Stories by Flora Schmalz, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1903
A Family of Girls by Raymond Jacberns, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1903
Fred Malcolm and His Friends by (Anon.), Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1903
Walsh the Wonder-Worker by George Manville Fenn, W. & R. Chambers, 1903
Hilda at School by Mary Macleod, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1903
Belle’s Little Evangel by P.A. Blyth, Religious Tract Society, 1903
Black Polyanthus, and Widow Maclean by Jean Ingelow, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co. 1903
More About Pixie by Mrs George de Horne Vaizey, Religious Tract Society, 1903
“Viva Christina!” The Adventures of a Young Scot with the British Legion by E.E. Cowper, W. & R. Chambers, 1904
The Child of the Lighthouse: A Tale of the Great War by Marion Andrews, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co. 1904
The Gold Snuff-Box by Andrew W. Arnold, W. & R. Chambers, 1904
A Thoughtless Seven by Amy Le Veuvre, Religious Tract Society, 1904
His Little Daughter by Amy Le Feuvre, Religious Tract Society, 1904
Hazard and Heroism, Being Stories told by G.A. Henty etc., W. & R. Chambers, 1904
Aunt Martha’s Corner Cupboard by Mary & Elizabeth Kirby, T. Nelson & Sons, 1904 (re-issue)
Terraweena: A Story of a Mid-winter Vacation in Australia by A.G. Allanson, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1905
Steady and Strong: Stories told by G.A. Henty etc., W. & R. Chambers, 1905
Draw Swords! In the Horse Artillery by George Manville Fenn, W. & R. Chambers, 1905
Shoulder Arms! A Tale of two Soldiers’ Sons by George Manville Fenn, W. & R. Chambers, 1905
Angela’s Brother by Eleanore H. Stooke, Religious Tract Society, 1905
Three Little Conspirators by Helen Beaumont, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1905
Rienzi, The Last of the Tribunes by Edward Bulwer Lytton, Collins, 1905
On the Banks of the Amazon by W.H.G. Kingston, T. Nelson & Sons, 1905(?)
Old Jack by W.H.G. Kingston, T. Nelson & Sons, 1906
The Empire’s Children by John Finnemore, W. & R. Chambers, 1906
Foray and Fight by John Finnemore, W. & R. Chambers, 1906
A Sea Queen’s Sailing by Charles W. Whistler, T. Nelson & Sons, 1906
Chrissie’s Confirmation by Evelyn Hunt, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1906
The Dove in the Eagle’s Nest by Charlotte M. Yonge, Collins, 1906(?) (re-issue)
Faith’s Home by (Anon.), Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1907
That Imp Marcella by Raymond Jacberns, W. & R. Chambers, 1907
The Fortunes of the Farrells by Mrs George de Horne Vaizey, Religious Tract Society, 1907
The Mystery of Coxfolly by Phoebe Allen, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1908
Baby Bob by Evleyn Whitaker, W. & R. Chambers, 1908
Dick Cheveley by W.H.G. Kingston, T. Nelson & Sons, 1908 (re-issue)
The Good Sword Belgarde, or How De Burgh Held Dover by Albert Charles Curtis,    Hodder & Stoughton, 1908
His First Term: A Story of Slapton School by John Finnemore, W. & R. Chambers, 1909
A Trip to Mars by Fenton Ash, W. & R. Chambers, 1909
Us, and Our Donkey by Amy Le Feuvre, Religious Tract Society, 1909
Ballads of Famous Fights Hodder & Stoughton, 1909
In the Land of the Moose, the Bear, and the Beaver by Achilles Daunt, T. Nelson & Sons, 1909(?)
Follow My Leader by Talbot Baines Reed, Cassell & Co. 1910 (re-issue)
A Little Listener by Amy Le Feuvre, Religious Tract Society, 1910
Heroes of the Polar Seas by John Kennedy MacLean, W. & R. Chambers, 1910
A Schoolgirl’s Battlefield by Raymond Jacberns, W. & R. Chambers, 1910
The Boys’ Holiday Book, Henry Frowde; Hodder & Stoughton, 1910
The Red Book for Boys Henry Frowde, Hodder & Stoughton, 1910
Brother Scouts by John Finnemore, W. & R. Chambers, 1911
Charlie Wilson’s Prophecy by Alfred J. Glasspool, T. Nelson & Sons, 1911
Blair of Balaclava: A Hero of the Light Brigade by Escott Lynn, W. & R. Chambers, 1911
Teddy and Lily’s Adventures by May Baldwin, W. & R. Chambers, 1911
Christie’s Old Organ or “Home Sweet Home” by O.F. Walton, Religious Tract Society, 1911 (re-issue)
Talford’s Last Term by Harold Avery, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1912
Little Heroine: The Story of a Lost Medal by Brenda Girvin, W.W. Partridge & Co., 1912
A Cavalier of Fortune by Escott Lynn, W. & R. Chambers, 1912
The Captain of the King’s Guard by E. Hamilton Currey, W. & R. Chambers, 1912
Us, and Our Empire by AmyLe Feuvre, Religious Tract Society, 1912
A Boy Scout in the Balkans by John Finnemore, W. & R. Chambers, 1912
Stories of Adventure, by G. Manville Fen etc., Ernest Nister, 1912
Who Conquers? Or A Schoolboy’s Honour by Florence Bone, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1913
Moll Meredith, Madcap by May Baldwin, W. & R. Chambers, 1913
A College Girl by Mrs George de Horne Vaizey, Religious Tract Society, 1913
Laddie’s Choice by Amy Le Feuvre, Religious Tract Society, 1913
“Toot-Toot” The Story of a Little Girl and Boy Who Were Carried Away in a Magic Motor Car by G.R. Bennett, Schofield & Sims, (?)
Aunt Louisa’s Jumble Picture Book, Frederick Warne & Co., (?)
Tom Brown’s Schooldays by Thomas Hughes, W. & R. Chambers, (?) (re-issue)
Schoolboy Days by W.H.G. Kingston, Hutchinson & Co., (?) (re-issue of Ernest Bracebridge, or Schoolboy Days)
The Poetical Works of Robert Browning, Collins, (?)

Reprints of novels by Charles Dickens – published by Collins, 1907
Hard Times
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby
David Copperfield
Bleak House
The Old Curiosity Shop
Little Dorritt
Dombey and Son
Master Humphrey’s Clock and Pictures from Italy

Reprints of novels by R.M. Ballantyne – published by T. Nelson & Sons
The Young Fur-Traders
The Eagle Cliff
Hudson Bay, or Everyday Life in North America
The Gorilla Hunters: A Tale of the Wilds of Africa
Ungava: A Tale of Esquimaux Land
The Coral Island
The World of Ice
The Dog Crusoe: A Tale of the Western Prairies        

Friday, August 18, 2017

Comic Cuts - 18 August 2017

I've spent the whole week working on a single essay for this new book of Fifty Forgotten Authors  and, at the time of writing, I still haven't finished. It concerns a Victorian novelist who wrote "sensation" novels ranging from crime to pirate and even one science fiction about a Dutch clockmaker and chemist who is revived after 100 years in suspended animation.

While it's interesting to discover the plots of his many novels, trawling through newspapers looking for reviews has taken three days so far (although I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and will hopefully finish the trawl today, Friday) and I have something like 15,000 words of notes which I will need to boil down to only a few thousand words. The longest of the essays so far have been 3,700 and 3,900 words and I don't really want too many beyond that length because 50 essays at 3,500 words will mean the book will clock in at 175,000 words. As I aim for 1,000 words a day and like to have at least one day off a week, we would be looking at 35 weeks and I really can't afford not to earn any money for that length of time.

Last week I mentioned that I had three essays on the go and I managed to finish two of them before I got bogged down with this new one, so the totaliser has risen to 6 completed essays totaling 17,704 words. So the essays are averaging 2,950 words so far, which could mean 150,000 words total. I'm hoping that some of the remaining ~40 essays are going to be really short to bring the average down!

Some of these essays are major expansions of pieces I've written for Bear Alley, whilst some will be from pieces written for other websites, magazines and a few unpublished pieces. I was thinking that I might include Nat Gould, now all but forgotten, but a huge seller in his day. I wrote a piece for the Story Paper Collectors' Digest many years ago that I think deserves a wider audience. I don't like anything to go to waste.

Thinking about Gould gave me an excuse to work up a few covers for this week's random scans. To be perfectly honest, I ran out of time (it's late, I want to go to bed!), so the last one is still a bit of a mess.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 16 August 2017.

Judge Dredd Megazine 387
Cover: Richard Elson
Judge Dredd: Platinum Wednesday by Rory McConville (w) Joel Carpenter (a) Gary Caldwell (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Anderson PSI Division: NWO by Alan Grant (w) Paul Marshall (a) Dylan Teague (c) Simon Bowland (l)
Havn by Si Spencer (w) Henry Flint (a) Eva De La Cruz (c) Simon Bowland (l)
Dredd: Furies by Arthur Watt, Alex Di Campi (w) Paul Davidson (a) Len O'Grady (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
The Dark Judges: Dominion by John Wagner (w) Nick Percival (a) Len O'Grady (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Interviews: John Stokes, Liam Sharp
Reprint edition: The Lawless Touch (from Tornado) by Kelvin Gosnell, Steve MacManus, R. Tuffnell (w) Barry Mitchell, Mike White, John Cooper, John Richardson, John Higgins (a), Pete Knight (l)

2000AD Prog 2044
Cover: Jimmy Broxton
Judge Dredd: Ouroboros by Michael Carroll (w) Paul Marshal (a) Quinton Winter (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
The Alienist: Inhuman Natures by Gordon Rennie, Emma Beebie (w) Eoin Coveney (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
Greysuit: Foul Play by Pat Mills (w) John Higgins (a) Sally Hurst (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
Grey Area: Signal Six Twenty-Four by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Hope: ... For The Future by Guy Adams (w) Jimmy Broxton (a) (c) Simon Bowland (l)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

H L Bacon

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

H.L. Bacon was one of three brothers who were all artists, although he was by far the best-known, in particular for his illustrations for several re-issues of girls’ school stories by Angela Brazil, and for his illustrations for several other boys’ and girls’ novels.

His parents were John Cardinall Bacon (1833–1905), a lithographic artist, born in Wivenhoe, Essex, and Rosa Clementina Gertrude Sarah Wilkins (1840–1912), who had married in Hackney, London, in 1861. He was born on 5 November 1875 in Lambeth, and christened Henry James Lynch Bacon. (Whether there was any family relationship with the Irish artist James Henry Lynch, born in 1803 and died in 1868, is not known). He was the 7th of 10 children  –  at the time of the 1881 census, the family was living in Islington, with his siblings Rosa, Edward and John, aged 17, 16 and 15 respectively, all recorded as art students.

Shortly after the census was taken the family moved to 2 Cathcart Hill, Kentish Town. Ten years later, the family was living at 43 St. Johns Park, Islington  –  John and Edward were still working as artists, with Henry still at school.

In July 1900 Henry was awarded a scholarship, worth £50 a year, for two years, by the British Institution to the Royal College of Art (noted in The Morning post, 27 July 1900). This explains why, in the 1901 census, he was recorded as a “National Art Scholar”, living with his parents at 17 Milton Avenue, Hornsey.

After leaving the Royal Academy, he began a career as a portrait painter and commercial artist. In 1914, in Kensington, he married Margaret Jane Jameson (born in Edinburgh in 1876), who was herself an artist and art teacher, working for the London County Council Arts and Crafts School, and living in Chelsea with her widowed mother. At the time, Henry was listed in the Electoral Register as living at 23 Fitzroy Square, St. Pancras (between 1909 and 1917)  –  however, he appears to have been absent on the night of the 1911 census, with two unrelated households occupying rooms at that address.

In 1918 he was registered at 24 Maitland Park Villas, St. Pancras, which is where he appears to have remained until at least 1939. In that year’s Register (taken as a result of the threat of war) he was listed as an artist, book illustrator and advertising salesman. He died at 28 Church Crescent, Muswell Hill, on 25 April 1948, leaving an estate valued at just over £685 (£21,000 in today’s terms). His wife died in Wandsworth in June 1971.

As an artist and illustrator, he worked for a number of publishers, including S.W. Partridge & Co, Frederick Warne & Co., and Blackie & Son. His earliest known work was published in 1902, in Cassell’s Magazine, with his first book illustrations appearing in 1906. He may well have served in the forces during the First World War, as there appears to have been nothing published by him between 1915 and 1925, although there are no online service records for a Henry James Lynch Bacon (although there are plenty for a Henry or an H. Bacon).  It is known that, in the 1920s, he produced advertising illustrations for Three Nuns tobacco and for Turf cigarettes, and that he exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1919, 1920 and 1921. He signed his illustrations “Henry L. Bacon, “H.L. Bacon” or simply “H.L.B.” It is also known that he worked primarily as a portrait artist, so his work as an illustrator was more of a sideline than his bread and butter. Rather strangely, he provided new illustrations for reprints of several Angela Brazil books in the 1930s  –  why this was deemed necessary by the publisher, Blackie & Son, remains a mystery.

* * * * *

Henry’s brother John Henry Frederick Bacon also illustrated children’s books, although he was better-known as a prolific painter  –  of religious works, portraits, hist6orical and family scenes. He was born in Newington, South London, in 1865, and trained at the Westminster School of Art and the Royal Academy Schools. In 1883 he began a painting tour of India and Burma, and on his return to England in 1887 he entered the Royal Academy Schools  –  he went on to become a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy, and in 1903 he was elected as an Associate member. In 1894, in Evesham, Worcestershire, he married Mary Elizabeth White (born in Broadway, Worcestershire in 1868), and the couple lived for a while at Pillar House, Harwell, Berkshire (now in Oxfordshire). They went on to have seven children. They later moved to 25 St. John’s Wood Road, St. Marylebone, and then to 11 Queens Gate Terrace, Kensington, where John Henry Frederick died of acute bronchitis on 24 January 1914.

As an illustrator, he contributed to several magazines between the mid-1890s and 1910, including The Girl’s Own Paper, Black and White, The Quiver, The Ludgate Monthly, Cassell’s Magazine/Cassell’s Family Magazine, The Harmsworth Monthly Pictorial Magazine, The Strand Magazine, and The Windsor Magazine. Amongst the children’s books he illustrated were Nell’s Schooldays by H.F. Gethen (Blackie & Son, 1898), Mobsley’s Mohicans by Harold Avery (T. Nelson & Sons, 1900); and a reissue of Tom Brown’s Schooldays (Blackie & Son, 1904). He also illustrated, in conjunction with other artists, several books of Shakespeare’s works; re-issues of some of Charles Dickens’s novels; and titles such as A Land of Heroes: Stories from Early Irish History by W. Lorcan O’Byrne (Blackie & Son, 1900), and Pharos, The Egyptian by Guy Boothby.

Amongst his most famous paintings were The Wedding Morning (1892), bought by Lord Leverhulme from the Royal Academy for use as an advert for Sunlight Soap;  The City of London Imperial Volunteers Return to London from South Africa (1902), now hanging in the Guildhall; The Homage-Giving, Westminster Abbey, 9th August 1902 (1903), now in the National Portrait Gallery; and The Coronation of King George V (1911), now in the Royal Collection and hanging in the palace of Westminster.

The third brother, Edward Bacon, born in Lambeth in 1865, was also an artist, recorded as such in the census returns for 1891, 1901 and 1911 (when he was living at 38 Wellesley Road, Chiswick, working as a “fashion artist”). He had married in around 1899, and had three children. However, nothing more seems to be known about him  –  what he illustrated, nor where and when he died.


Books Illustrated
Manisty of the School House by A.L. Haydon, Frederick Warne & Co., 1906
The Ironmaster’s Daughter by Alice M. Diehl, Cassell & Co., 1906
Molly: The Story of a Wayward Girl by Harriet E. Colvile, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1906
A Lost Summer by Theo Douglas, Cassell & Co., 1907
Stories of Old: A Book of Bible Stories by Charles D, Michael, James Clarke & Co., 1907
Playing the Game by Kent Carr, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1908
The Ways of a Girl, or The Story of One Year by M.F. Hutchinson, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1908
Not Out! By Kent Carr, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1909   
Double Bonds by Florinda McCall, Cassell & Co., 1909
Blind Hopes by Helen Wallace, Cassell & Co., 1909
A Schoolboy’s Honour, or The Lost Pigeons by Ethel Lindsay, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1910
Tell Me the Old, Old Story by Edith Robarts, Cassell & Co., 1910
Best of Friends by Fox Russell, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1910
For Sunday: Bible Stories for Little Folks by Edith Roberts, Cassell & Co., 1910
The Doings of Dick and Dan by Sir James Yoxall, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1911
Adam Bede by George Eliot, S.W. Partridge & Co., (re-issue)   1911?
Basil Verely: A Study in Charterhouse Life by Archibald Ingram, George Allen & Co., 1912   
St. Winifred's, or The World of School by F.W. Farrar, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1912 (re-issue)
Sunday and Every-Day Reading for the Young by    Wells Gardner, Darton & Co. 1914
The Starling by Norman McLeod, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1915
Julian Home: A Tale of College Life by F.W. Farrar, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1915? (re-issue)
Tomboy Tony by Christine Chaundler, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1924
To Save Her School by Bessie Marchant, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1925
The Luck of Dolorous Tower by E.M. Ward, Frederick Warne, 1926
Sleepy Saunders by Rowland Walker, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1927   
Schooldays at Beverley by Jessie L. Herbertson, Collins, 1927
Peggy Makes Good by Elsie Jeanette Oxenham, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1927
Loyalty Bob, or One of Cromwell’s Kinsmen by Walter Copeland, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1927
Miss Honor’s Form by E.C. Matthews, Blackie & Son, 1928
The Latimer Scholarship by Olivia Fowell, Blackie & Son, 1929
The Skipper of the Team by A.L. Haydon, Frederick Wartne & Co., 1930
A Little Brown Mouse by Madame Albanesi, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1931
The Hon. Master Jinx by Rowland Walker, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1933   
The Island Camp by Margaret Middleton, Blackie & Son, 1935

Undated re-issues of Angela Brazil books (originally illustrated by others)
The Madcap of the School by Angela Brazil, Blackie & Son
Loyal to the School by Angela Brazil, Blackie & Son
The Nicest Girl in the School by Angela Brazil, Blackie & Son
A Fortunate Term by Angela Brazil, Blackie & Son
A Popular Schoolgirl by Angela Brazil, Blackie & Son
The Girls of St. Cyprian’s by Angela Brazil, Blackie & Son
The Youngest Girl in the Fifth by Angela Brazil, Blackie & Son

Friday, August 11, 2017

Comic Cuts - 11 August 2017

I've spent the whole week working on two different projects that I'm enjoying putting together. One is a pitch for a book that I'll be happy to talk about if it comes to anything, the other is going to be a collection of author biographies that I'm hoping to get out this side of Christmas. I haven't forgotten the Valiant book—that's still being worked on, too—but I wanted something I could put together relatively quickly. I've written about 12,000 words and completed four pieces, although I have three more in the works, two of which are almost finished that will add another 6,000 or so words to the total. The target is fifty, so I've still a way to go.

So, without any work to talk about, I thought instead I'd give you a rundown of some of the books I've bought over the past few weeks. I trek around Colchester's charity shops each week in search of books and sometimes end up with a rather bizarre collection of titles. Some of the books I've bought I've scanned and the covers have filled holes in existing galleries, whilst others are for future galleries. Then there are the books that don't really fit into any great scheme but I pick them up anyway.

David Downing has written a series of thillers set around Berlin in the 1940s. I saw a stack of these about a year ago in our local Oxfam, perhaps all six novels in the series, but I try to limit myself each week and, that particular week, I'd hit my limit early. They were gone the following week. So this one turned up as part of a three for the price of two offer and, being the first in the series featuring John Russell, I thought I'd give it a shot as it has been quite highly praised for the atmosphere and setting, which is in the dying weeks of peace just before the Second World War.

Fifteen Dogs I picked up because it features dogs and one of them is called Prince, the name of our dog who we grew up with from around the age of seven or eight until he died thirteen or so years later. So I gave this one to my sister as a birthday/moving present, as she celebrated both those events last month.

I've just watched The Handmaid's Tale adaptation and thought it utterly compelling. I've never read the book, so I thought I'd pick up a copy, which I'll get round to reading one day/year/when I'm retired.

Philip Reeve's "Mortal Engines" series is another series I intend reading. It's for children but involves mobile cities that roam the landscape and eat other cities. Who wouldn't want to read books about that? I've had the four books sitting in my "to read" pile for a few years, now, but other books get piled on top. There's no real rhyme or reason to how I pick the next book I read. So a week ago I was reading Ted Chaing's collection Arrival, but was sat at my computer waiting for a file to download the other day and started reading the first book to hand, which happened to be one I've been wanting to read for years: Life During Wartime by Lucius Shepard. So that replaced the book I had planned to read next (Caliban's War by James S. A. Corey), which has probably moved down the list anyway because I've just picked up the second and third novels in Richard Morgan's Takeshi Kovaks trilogy, which has pushed Altered Carbon (the first in the series) to the top of my "to read" pile. And lets not forget that I have four or five short story collections on the go, ranging from Lankhmar by Fritz Leiber to The Draco Tavern by Larry Niven, which I dip into depending on what mood I'm in.

Lots of SF at the moment, you'll notice. Should my mood swing back to crime novels, I have plenty of those lined up too, including the Stephen King series about Bill Hodges (Mr Mercedes, Finders Keepers and End of Watch), the latest from Robert Harris (Conclave) and a copy of Brian Garfield's Death Wish, picked up on Saturday. I haven't read it for donkey's years and was reminded of it when I saw that they were remaking the movie with Bruce Willis in the Charles Bronson role. As I'm in a confessional mood... when I was 19 I took a girlfriend on our first date to see Death Wish II because she was a Led Zeppelin fan and Jimmy Page did the soundtrack to that film. All I can say is that I didn't know there was going to be an horrific gang rape and the catalogue of violence that followed with shootings and electrocutions... oh, boy! What the hell was I thinking... and more importantly, what was my date thinking? That was only the first in a series of catastrophic decisions that doomed that particular relationship. I'm not sure I can bring myself to read the book now that I've remembered this bit of heartache!

The Shrinking Man... if only that movie had been around at the time. Unfortunately, the one that was around was The Incredible Shrinking Woman, directed by Joel Schumacher no less (he went on to direct some quite respectable films before blowing his career with two terrible Batman movies). The Incredible Shrinking Man I haven't seen for many, many years. I wonder if it's as good as I remember? I've just spotted it on YouTube, although it looks like someone filmed it off the TV, and there's another version that looks better but has intrusive subtitles that I can't turn off.

The last two books I picked up on Sunday at the local railway station, which has a small shelf of titles for people travelling on the trains. I've picked up quite a few books in the past, so I try to keep it stocked up—I've been dropping in copies of Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse novels recently and I think I got the best of the swap with a 1971 short story collection entitled The Homosexual Ghost and Other Stories, which is an anthology of horror stories from the Far East (Thailand, Indonesia, China, Japan, India and Pakistan) ranging from the 10th century to the 1960s; and a nice Barbara Cartland novel. I don't care for Barbara Cartland, but I do like cover artist Francis Marshall, whose work I first became aware of when I was working for Look and Learn; he did some illustrations for Bible Story and also for Ranger. David Roach later pointed out that he was also the regular artist for Pan's and Arrow's paperback editions of Barbara Cartland novels, although this is the first one I've picked up. Not a bad swap for a Morse with an unimaginative photo cover.

There are lots of Cartland paperback covers dotted around the internet. One day I'll gather them all up in a gallery.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Commando 5043-5046

Brand new Commando issues 5043-5046 are out soon! Ready your guns for incoming Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine and Wehrmacht as our Commandos face air, sea and land skirmishes against the Axis forces. From R.N.L.I. volunteers to Eastern street cleaners, our heroes come in all sizes.

5043: Lifeboat Heroes!
Often dubbed ‘Weekend Warriors’, R.N.L.I. volunteers patrolled the dark waters of the Channel, rescuing the men they found from the icy drink, though their heroics were often overlooked and forgotten…
    Keith Page’s instantly recognisable artwork matches and conveys both the humour and earnestness of Colin Watson’s story. This balance is always maintained, as the comically affronted facial expressions of the crew lighten the tone, while the perilous night-time rescue missions are filled with heavy blacks, sustaining a sense of dread throughout these darker moments. And Page’s cover is one such moment, showing the carnage of the Dunkirk evacuation in a stylised spectrum, from yellows and blues, to greens and even purples.

Story: Colin Watson
Art: Keith Page
Cover: Keith Page

5044: Wings of War
Sanfeliz’s action packed cover perfectly captures these ‘Wings of War’, as a lone Spitfire showers bullets at two attacking Messerschmitts, and mid loop nonetheless!

But these aerobatics are not lost in the issue’s interior as Repetto’s thin line strokes and attention to detail really add to the depth of the art, contouring the landscapes beneath the planes and giving more dimension to the aircraft. Meanwhile, Fitzsimmons pilot officer, Jack Mitchell is all edge, determined to beat his father’s WWI record for shooting down twenty-five Luftstreitkr√§fte planes, by any means necessary. Looking every inch the R.A.F. hero of Commando, Jack’s actions seem callous and downright deplorable as he shuns his fellow pilots and shoots down planes mercilessly.

Story: Fitzsimmons
Art: Repetto
Cover: Sanfeliz
Originally Commando No. 391 (March 1969) 

5045: The Sniper
An expert marksman, Sergeant David Woking was the guardian angel of his squadron, taking out anything and anyone that threatened his men. But his superiors didn’t think too highly of snipers, or Woking’s rogue manner. Within this issue, Colin Watson takes full advantage of both Woking’s one-man battle and his time with his teammates, working on the individual characters and how these personalities interact. Jaume Forns then adds to these personas through his art, giving the precise, unerring Woking his thin moustache and bright eyes, and the mischievous Roger his freckles, adding to their charm.
    Completing this is David Alexander’s cover art, mixing watercolour, acrylic and ink to create a traditional looking piece with its own quirks. Keeping our eponymous sniper front and centre, as he hides among the undergrowth, Alexander also inserts images of Woking’s targets, highlighting his deadly accuracy.  

Story: Colin Watson
Art: Jaume Forns
Cover: David Alexander

5046: Sewer Rat
Finally, looks can be very deceiving in Mike Knowles story of a scruffy Lance-Corporal, dismissed immediately by his superiors for his careless appearance. Yes, Thomas Henshaw may have a bit of stubble and be rather inept at ironing, but his heart was in the right place. So, when his C.O. and crew are taken to a Japanese P.O.W. camp, he takes to the sewers, using the network of tunnels for raids and ambushes on the enemy. These underground systems are perfectly depicted in Keith Shone’s interior art, as he uses thick blocks of black for the background, highlighting the characters in white, as the shadows take over and appearances are rendered meaningless. And emphasising this theme is Alan Burrows cover, as Tom’s expression and figure is overcast in deep purple shadows, giving him a rather Gothic look.

Story: Mike Knowles
Art: Keith Shone
Cover: Alan Burrows
Originally Commando No. 2629 (January 1993)

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 8 August 2017.

2000AD Prog 2043
Cover: Jake Lynch
Judge Dredd: Ouroboros by Michael Carroll (w) Paul Marshal (a) Quinton Winter (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
The Alienist: Inhuman Natures by Gordon Rennie, Emma Beebie (w) Eoin Coveney (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
Greysuit: Foul Play by Pat Mills (w) John Higgins (a) Sally Hurst (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
Grey Area: Signal Six Twenty-Four by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Hunted: Furies by Gordon Rennie (w) PJ Holden (a) Len O'Grady (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 14 by John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra, Will Simpson and Jeff Anderson.
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08547-9, 8 August 2017, 274pp, $25 (US only).
One of the seminal Judge Dredd graphic novels of all time. The Big Meg is under siege from the Dark Judges, Dredd has been exiled to the harsh wastelands of the Cursed Earth and time is running out for the citizens he once swore to protect. With the body-count rising and hope running out, will the Judges be able to turn back the tide of death? Volume 14 features the mega-epic ‘Necropolis’ written by John Wagner (A History of Violence) and featuring the art of Will Simpson (Hellblazer), Jeff Anderson (Transformers) and Dredd co-creator Carlos Ezquerra.

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 29 by John Wagner, Alan Grant, John Burns, Cam Kennedy, Henry Flint, Greg Staples, Alex Ronald, Jason Brashill, Jim Murray, Paul Marshall, Peter Doherty, Rafael Garres, Steve Tappin, Andrew Currie and Paolo Parente
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08526-4, 8 August 2017, 289pp, £19.99 (UK only).
The latest in the best-selling series collecting the cases of Judge Dredd. From serial killers, to alien dragons, to crime lord Nero Narcos, Mega-City One has more than its fair share of extraordinary perps. Just as well the humble street Judge now has an extraordinary weapon in their arsenal of justice – the Lawgiver Mark II! Whether getting help from day-dreaming desk Judges or the miniature pest-control droids Banzai Battalion, no-one can stop the Law!

Sunday, August 06, 2017

J Phillips Paterson

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

J. Phillips Paterson was a familiar name to readers of boys’ fiction, as an illustrator of hardback school and adventure stories in the 1920s and 1930s, but, like many of his contemporaries, he has always been a rather mysterious figure.

He was born in Warrington, Lancashire, in 1877, and christened James Phillips Paterson. His father, James (born in Berwick-on-Tweed in 1846), was a bank inspector. His mother, Hannah Phillips Longshaw (born in Warrington in 1847) was the daughter of a master brickmaker. James was the first of three children, with his brother William Ormiston Paterson being born in Warrington in 1879. Shortly after this the family moved to Dunfermline, in Scotland, where a third son, Thomas, was born in 1883.

At the time of the 1901 census the family was living at 31 High Street, Dunfermline, with James studying art. William was recorded as a Damask Designer, and Thomas as a bookseller. Three years later, on 29 February 1904, in Edinburgh, James married Jemima Fraser (born in Alloa, Scotland, in 1876). They later moved to London, where their first daughter, Hannah Evelyn, was born in Stoke Newington in 1904.  A second daughter, Charlotte Monica, was born in Limekilns, Fife, Scotland, in 1908.

The family later moved to Clapham, where, in 1911, they were living at 61 Elmhurst Mansions, Edgeley Road. By 1915 they had moved to 59 Bedford Road, Clapham  –  this was James’s address, on 11 December 1915, he enlisted as a Private in the Labour Corps, describing himself as a draughtsman, with his height recorded as 5 feet 3 inches. He seems to have been transferred to the Army Reserve, and he was subsequently called up in February 1917, joining the Queen’s Regiment (Royal West Surrey), with whom he remained until the end of the war, serving abroad with the British Expeditionary Force.

Exactly where Paterson studied art, and for how long, is not known. He was working as a “Painter and Black and White Artist” when the 1911 census was taken, although his earliest known published work is from 1922. He became particularly associated with the publishing firm of Thomas Nelson & Sons, providing illustrations for a number of boys’ school and adventure stories. Most of these had a coloured frontispiece and small black and white illustrations dotted about the text, rather than full-page black and white plates. One title worth noting is Slings Road by Tom Holland, published in 1931, and which, unusually for a boys’ school story, is set in an elementary school, to where a public school boy is sent after his father has lost all his money. Most of his illustrations, where they carried a signature, were signed “JPP.”

He also provided illustrations for a number of magazines between 1922 and 1926, including the Amalgamated Press’s The Yellow Magazine, The Red Magazine and The Crusoe Magazine, and George Newnes’ The Detective Magazine. In February and July 1929 he also provided colour plates – Ice Hockey in Canada and Baseball in the United States  –  that were given away free with The Boy’s Own Paper.

James Phillips Paterson remained at 59 Bedford Road, Clapham, until the late 1920s, when he moved to 14 Station Road, Spelthorne, Surrey, and then, in 1939, to 60 Tynemouth Drive, Enfield, Middlesex. His wife had died in Reigate, Surrey, in March 1928. He himself died, without leaving a will, in Edmonton in 1948, with his last illustrations appearing posthumously the following year.

He was not, it must be said, a particularly good artist, and his drawings were sometimes rather stilted, with unusual-looking characters. This may explain the comparatively small number of books he is credited with illustrating.


Books illustrated by J. Phillips Paterson
The Copper Urn by Amy Grey, S.P.C.K., 1922
The Hope of His House by R.A.H. Goodyear, T. Nelson & Sons, 1926
The Surprising Holidays by E.M. Channon, Sheldon Press, 1926
Who Goes There? by Harold Avery, T. Nelson & Sons, 1927   
Day Boy Colours by Harold Avery, T. Nelson & Sons, 1928
The Penalty Area by Stanley Morris, T. Nelson & Sons, 1928
Stories of the Apostles and Evangelists by L.C. Streatfield, A.R Mowbray & Co., 1929
The Ivory Idol by Hugh F. Frame, T. Nelson & Sons, 1930
Bully Austin by Tom Holland, T. Nelson & Sons, 1930           
Slings Road by Tom Holland, T. Nelson & Sons, 1931
The Cruise of the Air Yacht Silver Cloud by Rowland Walker, T. Nelson & Sons, 1931           
The Senior Prefect by Stanley Morris, T. Nelson & Sons, 1932   
The Eye of the Peacock by Oliver Barton, T. Nelson & Sons     1932   
The Cock-House Cup by Harold Avery, 1933
The Treasure of San Jacinto by Frank Riley, T. Nelson & Sons, 1933
Adventurous Women by Eleanor Scott, T. Nelson & Sons, 1933
Seconds Out by L.C. Douthwaite, T. Nelson & Sons, 1934   
Anne of the Veld by Marjorie Bevan, T. Nelson & Sons, 1934
The Glory of Greystone by John L. Roberts, T. Nelson & Sons, 1935
The Aztec Treasure by J.H. Newton, T. Nelson & Sons 1936
The Eye of the Earth by Lennox Ker, T. Nelson & Sons, 1936
Tales of St. Cedric's by L.C. Douthwaite, T. Nelson & Sons, 1937
Brown’s £50,000 Mystery by Michael Poole, O.U.P., 1937       
Through Thick and Thin by Harold Avery, T. Nelson & Sons, 1938
The Golden Mirage by C.B. Rutley, Blackie & Son, 1938
In Quest of Pedro’s Treasure by S. Beresford Lucas, T. Nelson & Sons 1939
The Man from Outside by L.C. Douthwaite, T. Nelson & Sons, 1940
Camp Contact by Edwin Newbold Bradley, T. Nelson & Sons, 1941
Lightweight Honours by James Kenyon, T. Nelson & Sons, 1947
The Runswick Treasure by George Newman, T. Nelson & Sons, 1949

Friday, August 04, 2017

Comic Cuts - 4 August 2017

The week was dominated by my sister Julie's house move on Monday, although the aching back and arms have kept it fresh in my memory ever since. It's my job to sit in front of a computer all day, occasionally lifting a cup of coffee. Once in a while I move a box to get at something underneath it.

This is why I am overweight and the reason I go for walks... to stop myself from becoming even more overweight. I've reached a kind of balance where I put on around three pounds over winter and lose them over the summer. It's just the other four stone that I can't shift.

Mel and I were up bright and early—well, early—on Monday morning waiting for my mum and sister to arrive accompanied by my sister's two dogs. The plan was for mum to stay around ours with the dogs, as this gave them (the dogs) access to a garden, which meant they wouldn't have to spend the day shut inside. We picked up a van at 8:30 am and headed out of Colchester on our 100-mile trip up the A12 and along the M25 to Weybridge, Surrey, where my sister has been living for a few years. Like me, she moved for work and stuck around when the work dried up. Like me, she devotes herself to the things she loves, even when it doesn't pay that well. Must be something in the genes.

Delays ranging from slow moving traffic and queuing, especially around junctions, stretches with speed restrictions of 40 mph, "animals in road" and "incident", meant that we didn't arrive at the storage locker where Julie had all her belongings until 12:30pm. It took the three of us an hour and a half to empty everything out and stow it away in the van—a Luton with a tail-lift, although we didn't use the latter that much because if you're stood holding a box, you're about the right height to pass it to someone in the back of the van, or to put it on the floor of the van; it also means the person shifting boxes from the trollies to the van isn't constantly bending. We needed the tail-lift for some of the furniture, but that was about it.

At 2:00 pm we headed back towards the M25, suffered a few more delays, came off at the M11 and headed up to Sudbury where Julie has rented a small one-bedroom place. We met the landlord who is a bit "Tim nice but dim" (example: "The previous tenant has left a debt on the gas prepayment meter." "The gas is on a meter? I didn't realise!") and the house itself needs a couple of bits of fixing-up, but seemed OK. It doesn't have a garden, but it does have a small yard where the dogs will be able to run around, once Julie has fenced off a pathway for them. Securing gardens for dogs is like babyproofing your home for children, because dogs, like babies, will get into everything and find a way out of any place unless it's locked down like Colditz.

We had to hoover before moving anything in because Tim Dim had phoned around and couldn't find anyone to do it and I don't suppose it crossed his mind to do it himself. This is a man confused by curtains. There were no curtains hanging at the windows. "Where are the curtains?" he asked. We point to a bag full of curtains. "They're not the curtains I saw on Saturday," he says. Maybe the previous tenant preferred their own curtains to those horrible-looking mustard-coloured ones.

New Words: Meter. Curtains. Confused.

With the van backed up to the front door, it took about an hour and a half again to unload; after a well-deserved cup of tea we headed back to Colchester, arriving around 8:00pm. Thankfully, the dogs hadn't used the 12 hours out of Julie's sight to tear up the place. We were out of the house again fifteen minutes later, heading for the local Fish 'n' Chip shop as we all fancied something quick and easy that wouldn't require us to do any work before or after. I'd forgotten what it's like to eat with two dogs hating you for every mouthful you take.

I was in bed an hour and a half later. Optimistically, I weighed myself the following morning and hadn't lost even half a pound.

So today's random scans are in honour of my sister... and the key word here is "sister", not "Satan" or  "sinister". I just want to make that clear.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 1 August 2017.

2000AD Prog 2042
Cover: Tiernan Trevallion
Judge Dredd: Ouroboros by Michael Carroll (w) Paul Marshal (a) Quinton Winter (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
The Alienist: Inhuman Natures by Gordon Rennie, Emma Beebie (w) Eoin Coveney (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
Greysuit: Foul Play by Pat Mills (w) John Higgins (a) Sally Hurst (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
Grey Area: Lutwot Holiday by Dan Abnett (w) Mark Harrison (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Hunted: Furies by Gordon Rennie (w) PJ Holden (a) Len O'Grady (c) Ellie De Ville (l)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

J R Burgess

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

J.R. Burgess was a familiar artist to readers of the Boy’s Own Paper between around  1912 and 1935, and he was also responsible for the dustjackets and illustrations for many hardback boys’ school and adventure stories.  However, like many of his contemporaries he has always been a very shadowy figure.

He was born in 1880 in Shepherds Bush, London, and christened John Riddle Burgess.  His mother was Matilda Alice Riddle (1846–1906), the daughter of Frederic Riddle, a portrait artist. His father was Ebenezer Edwin Burgess, the son of a bootmaker, born in Islington, London, in 1837, and who made a career as a medical artist (variously described in the census records as a “Pathological Artist” and “Medical Draughtsman”). John was actually the sixth of an eventual family of nine children – his brothers were Edwin James Percy (born in 1873 and who became an artist and then a mechanic – he died in 1930), Henry Esmond (1878-1880), Frederick Tasker (1878–1929 – he was an automobile engineer), and Ernest Edmond Riddle (born in 1889 and who became an electrician).

At the time of the 1881 census, the family was living at 63 Davisville Road, Hammersmith, employing Annie Smith, a 16 year-old servant. Ten years later, the family was living at 6 Maida Hill West, Paddington, again employing a servant, 22 year-old Harriett Whitehorn. (With 8 children they were presumably fairly comfortably-off). Edwin James Percy, known simply as Percy, was already working as a lithographic artist.

It is not known what, if any, artistic training John Riddle Burgess had. But he was already working as an artist in 1900, when he provided 6 black and white plates for The Boy from Cuba, a school story written by Walter C. Rhoades, and the same number of plates for The Burtons of Burdale, written by J.W. Kneeshaw, and both published by S.W. Partridge & Co. This was followed by illustrations for William Murray Graydon’s On Winding Waters: A Tale of Adventure and Peril, also published by Partridge, in 1902.

By the time of the 1901 census the Burgess family was living at 46 Acacia Road, St. John’s Wood, London. Both Percy and Frederick Burgess were recorded as being draughtsmen, with John an Illustrative Artist. Ten years later, the family was still at that address – Ebenezer had retired, Percy had become a motor mechanic, and John was still present, working as a black and white artist. Two of his sisters, Gertrude (born 1882) and Madeline (born 1886) were working as part-time fashion artists. Ebenezer Burgess died at 46 Acacia Road on 7 May 1920.

J.R. Burgess’s long association with the Boy’s Own Paper (BOP) appears to have begun in 1912, with the illustrations for a short story (The Marble Mammon by A.R. Maurelly). In his Who’s Who of Boys’ Writers and Illustrators (1984) Brian Doyle wrote that Burgess was himself an old BOP reader, and was former prize-winner in one of its art competitions. He also described Burgess as “probably the best school story illustrator of the BOP’s latter period,” and that he was particularly happy in capturing the humours of public school life in his drawings. He “could depict a boy as graphically as anyone in his period.” (Unfortunately, Doyle went on to refer to his work on the school stories by John Roberts, and claimed that when The Glory of Greystone  was reprinted in hardback Burgess’s illustrations were included – this was incorrect, as the illustrations and plates in the hardback edition were by J.P. Paterson).

Amongst the serials Burgess illustrated for the BOP were Beyond the School Gates by Paul Blake (1914–1915); The Shaping of Jephson’s (1916–17), Caught Out (1918–1919), and Dixie of the Cock House, all by Kent Carr (1921); and Under Ringwood’s Rule by Michael Poole (1928-29), with his other work being illustrating short stories. His work also occasionally appeared in Chums, the Detective Magazine and Cassell’s Magazine of Fiction.

At the same time as his work for the BOP, Burgess was providing the illustrations for a wide range of hardback stories, being particularly associated with Escott Lynn and David Ker, showing that he was equally at home illustrating historical and adventure stories as he was school stories. Many of the books he illustrated were published by W. & R. Chambers. He also illustrated a few books for girls, such as Bessie Marchants The Two New Girls (Frederick Warne & Co., 1927), The Girls of the Big House by Ethel Talbot (T. Nelson & Sons, 1935), and Gillian the Dauntless by Frederica J.E. Bennett (T. Nelson & Sons, 1937). While he usually signed his work “J R Burgess,” some plates are signed simply “J R B.”

He seems to have published little after the Second World War, with the last book containing his illustrations appearing in 1958. (His work may, of course, have appeared anonymously).

He had married Margaret Underwood (born in Hampstead in 1892, the daughter of an Elementary School teacher) at St. Michael’s Church, Golders Green, on 3 September 1914 – they went on to have one son, Geoffrey Reginald, born on 13 February 1918 (and who died in Barnet in 1971).

J.R Burgess died at St. Stephens Hospital, Barnet, on 20 July 1966, leaving an estate valued at £4,248 (around £67,000 in today’s terms). His home address was 38 Woodhouse Road, Finchley – indeed, he seems to have lived in Finchley from around 1915 onwards, firstly at 16 Falkland Avenue (1918), then at 19 Woodhouse Road (1920), then at 19 Woodgrange Gardens (1923), and finally at 38 Woodhouse Road.


The Boy from Cuba by Walter C. Rhoades, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1900
The Burtons of Burdale by J.W. Kneeshaw, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1900
On Winding Waters: A Tale of Adventure and Peril by William Murray Graydon, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1902
Uncle Zeph and his Yarns by William J. Forster, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1903
Jefferson Junior by Meredith Fletcher, Blackie & Son, 1905
The Boys of Monk’s Harold by M.B. Manwell, Frederick Warne & Co., 1907
What Shall it Profit? Or Roden’s Choice by Annie S. Swann, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1910
Masterman Ready by Frederick Marryat, Collins, 1910
Children’s Chum-Chats by Uncle Reg, National Council of Evangelical Free Churches, 1911
Dick’s Chum by M.A. Paull, 1913(?) (re-issue)
The Adventures of Three Englishmen by Jules Verne, Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1914 (re-issue)
The Secret Seven by R.S. Warren Bell, A. & C. Black, 1915 (with other artists)
The Spoilers by Edwin Pugh, George Newnes, 1920
Dixie of the Cock House by Kent Carr, W. & R. Chambers, 1921
Stirring Days in Old Virginia by Escott Lynn, W. & R. Chambers, 1922
Rebels of the Green Cockade: A Tale of Bacon’s Rebellion in Virginia by Escott Lynn, W. & R. Chambers, 1923
The Sport of the School by Ethel Talbot, W. & R. Chambers, 1923
Yo-ho-ho! A Story of Modern Piracy and Smuggling by Erle Rose Spencer, W. & R. Chambers 1924
Over an Unknown Ocean by David Ker, W. & R. Chambers, 1926
The Black Triangle: A Tale of Today by Escott Lynn, W. & R. Chambers, 1926
The Necklace of Shells: A Story of West Africa by David Ker, “Boy’s Own Paper” Office, 1927
The Second Adventure: A Story of Peril and Prowess in Rumania by Escott Lynn, W. & R. Chambers, 1927
The Two New Girls by Bessie Marchant, Frederick Warne & Co., 1927 
The Guides of Pexton School by Maud Rowe, Children’s Companion Office, 1927
The Luck of the Bertrams: A Tale of Smuggling Days by Escott Lynn, W. & R. Chambers, 1928
The Hidden Face: A Story of Bohemia by David Ker, W. & R. Chambers, 1928
Up the Rock! A Story of the English in the Spanish War of Succession by David Ker, W. & R. Chambers, 1929
A Young Virginian: A Story of the Fight with France for North America by Escott Lynn, W. & R. Chambers, 1929
The Exploits of Peter by Sydney Horler, Collins, 1930
Cross and Sword: A Tale of Joan of Arc by David Ker, W. & R. Chambers, 1930
The Wasps of Whitegate by Michael Poole, C. Arthur Pearson, 1930
Westward Ho! With Drake: A Story of the Spanish Main by Ecott Lynn, W. & R. Chambers, 1930
Three Jolly Cadets: A Tale of the Royal Military Academy by Escott  Lynn, W. & R. Chambers, 1931
Fighting for Freedom: A Story of the Tirol by David Ker, W. & R. Chambers, 1931
Blakeney of the ‘Slashers’: A Gloucestershire Grenadier by Escott Lynn, W. & R. Chambers, 1932
Founders of Wat End School by Theodora Wilson Wilson, “Girl’s Own Paper” Office, 1932
Three Dashing Subalterns by Escott Lynn, W. & R. Chambers, 1933
Under the Golden Dragon: A Story of King Alfred’s Days by Excott Lynn, W. & R. Chambers, 1934
The Girls of the Big House by Ethel Talbot, T. Nelson & Sons, 1935
The Red Spears of Honan: A Story of Adventure in China by Escott Lynn, W. & R. Chambers, 1935
Chums at Charlhurst by Harold Avery, T. Nelson & Sons, 1936
Gillian the Dauntless by Frederica J.E. Bennett, T. Nelson & Sons, 1937
Nesta on Her Own by Ethel Talbot, T. Nelson & Sons, 1938
The St. Berga Swimming Pool by Theodora Wilson Wilson, T. Nelson & Sons, 1939
The March of Time by E.C.T. Horniblow & J.J. Sullivan (4 vols), Grant Educational, 1940
The Impossible Term by David Morris, Edmund Ward, 1949 
Old Testament Stories by P. Pringle, Evans Bros., 1954
Runaway! By Mary Hope Jeanne Mance, Highway Press, 1958