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Saturday, January 27, 2018

J Dewar Mills

J. DEWAR MILLS
by
Robert J. Kirkpatrick

J. Dewar Mills is something of an enigma. As a male illustrator of children’s books, he unusually focused largely on stories for girls, especially school stories. As a person, his genealogy was very hard to unravel.

It is known from his First World War Navy and RAF service records that he was born in Glasgow on 8 November 1883. His marriage certificate shows his father as John Mills, a former cashier. In the 1891 census for Scotland, a John Mills, clerk, is recorded at Thompson Street, Glasgow, with his wife Elizabeth, and three sons, John, Dewar and James, aged 7, 5 and 2 respectively. In 1901, after the death of his father, he was living with his mother (recorded as Eliza) and brother Dewar in Maitland Street, Dunfermline, working as an apprentice designer.

It is not known when Mills moved to England. However, by 1914, he had a studio at 2 Brook Green Studios, 2 Dunsany Road, West Kensington. He married Dorothy Wallace (born in Kew in 1891, the daughter of William Alfred Wallace, a director of a catering company and former victualler, and his wife Elizabeth) on 31 October 1914 at the Registry Office in Fulham, London – they went on to have one child, Donald Campbell Dewar Mills, born on 26 June 1921. They lived for a while at 46 Bath Road, Bedford Park, West London, before moving to 9 North Avenue, Kew Gardens.

Mills joined the Royal Navy on 22 October 1917, his record stating his height at just over 5 ft 6 ins, with dark brown eyes, brown hair, and a sallow complexion. His occupation was given as “Artist and Draughtsman.” After serving briefly on four ships, as an Aircraftman, he was transferred to the RAF on 1 April 1918. After being transferred to the RAF Reserve on 15 March 1919, he was discharged from the service on 30 April 1920.

Nothing is known about Mills’s artistic training. He appears to have begun his career as an illustrator in around 1913, when he began contributing to The Strand Magazine and The Royal Magazine. In 1917, he began a long association with Cassell’s Magazine, and a year later he began providing illustrations for The New Magazine. He had also begun illustrating books, initially adult novels.

After the war, he went on to contribute to several more periodicals, including Hutchinson’s Magazine, The London Magazine, Pearson’s Magazine, The Sketch, Little Folks and The Girl’s Own Paper. In 1922, he began a long association with the publishers Blackie & Son and Ward, Lock & Co., illustrating hardback girls’ school stories. Amongst the authors whose books he illustrated were Evelyn Smith, May Wynne, Bessie Marchant, Lilian M. Pyke, Ethel Talbot, Christine Chaundler, Isabel M. Peacocke and Amy E. Seymour.

Between 1920 and 1924, he and his wife lived at 15 Crescent Mansions, Elgin Crescent, Kensington. They then moved to 13 Eliot Place, Blackheath, where they remained until 1933, when they moved to Flat 5, Beaconsfield Road, Greenwich. In 1924, he began contributing to The Illustrated London News, and he went on to contribute to The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, Britannia and Eve, The Windsor Magazine, Printers’ Pie and The Passing Show (in which he illustrated some of A. J. Cronin’s “Dr Finlay” stories). He also designed posters, including for the department store Derry & Toms.

Mills appears to have stopped working immediately after the Second World War. In 1945, he and his wife were living at Malt House Farm, Abingdon, Oxfordshire. Between 1946 and 1952 they lived at 13 Bassett Road, Kensington, along with their son Donald. They were joined there in 1951 by Donald’s wife Hilda (née Stansfield) following their marriage. In 1952, John and Dorothy moved to ‘Birkholme’, Lower Hampton Road, Spelthorne. Their whereabouts after that are unknown, although it is known that John died in Sudbury, Suffolk, in June 1966, and Dorothy died in Chichester, West Sussex, in May 1991.


PUBLICATIONS

Books illustrated by J. Dewar Mills
Buccaneer’s Island by Henry Robswood Clarke, John Long, 1913
Chance: A Tale in Two Parts by Joseph Conrad, Methuen & Co., 1913 (dustwrapper)
Time o’ Day by Doris Egerton Jones, Cassell & Co., 1915
The Woman in the Bazaar by Alice Perrin, Cassell & Co., 1915
Hens and Chickens: A Story of Girl Life in the Great War by Winifred Pares, SP.C.K., 1921
The Black Blanket by Maxwell Laurie, T. Werner Laurie, 1921 (dustwrapper)
Nicky of the Lower Fourth by Evelyn Smith, Blackie & Son, 1922
Peggy’s First Term by May Wynne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1922
Peggy the Pilot by Lilian Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1922
The Adopted Family by Isabel M. Peacocke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1923
The Twins of Emu Plains by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1923
The Best of Chums by May Wynne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1923
The Fortunes of Prue by Bessie Marchant, Ward, Lock & Co., 1923
Ann’s Great Adventure by Edith E. Cowper, Blackie & Son, 1923
Sheila the Prefect by Lilian M. Pyke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1923
Biddy and Quilla: A School Story by Evelyn Smith, Blackie & Son, 1924
The Fourth Form Invaders by Nancy M. Hayes, Cassell & Co., 1924
A Bid for Safety by Bessie Marchant, Ward, Lock & Co., 1924
Jill of the Fourth Form by Lilian Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1924
The Girls of Old Grange School by May Wynne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1925
Between Two Terms by Ethel Talbot, Ward, Lock & Co., 1925
Val Forrest in the Fifth by Evelyn Smith, Blackie & Son, 1925
Lowanna: An Australian School Story by Castleden Dove, Oxford University Press, 1925
The Lone Guide of Merfield by Lilian M. Pyke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1925
The Guides of North Cliff by S.B. Owsley, Blackie & Son, 1925
The New Head and Barbara by Betty Laws, Cassell & Co., 1925
Tess and Tony by Doris A. Pocock, Ward, Lock & Co., 1925
Red Rose and Tiger Lily by L.T. Meade, Cassell & Co., 1925(?) (re-issue)
The School on the Cliff by Ethel Talbot, Ward, Lock & Co., 1926
A Credit to Her House by Christine Chaundler, Ward, Lock & Co., 1926
Hazel Asks Why by May Wynne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1926
The Glen o’ Weeping by Marjorie Bowen, John Long, 1926 
A Will and a Way by Doris A. Pocock, Ward, Lock & Co., 1926
Reforming the Fourth by Christine Chaundler, Ward, Lock & Co., 1927
When I was Seven by Isabel M. Peacocke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1927
Phyllida in Form III by Evelyn Smith, Blackie & Son, 1927
A Disagreeable Girl by Jessie Leckie Herbertson, Ward, Lock & Co., 1927
Daphne, the Day Girl by Bertha Leonard, Cassell & Co., 1927
Golden Fiddles by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1928
Friends in the Fourth by Christine Chaundler, Ward, lock & Co., 1929
Lady Billie by Lilian Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1929
Nan of Northcote by Doris A. Pocock, Ward, Lock & Co., 1929
Meggy at St. Monica’s by Ethel Talbot, Ward, Lock & Co., 1930
Two New Girls by Amy E. Seymour, Blackie & Son, 1931
Juliet of the Mill by May Wynne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1931
The Junior Prefect by Christine Chaundler, Ward, Lock & Co., 1931
The Fourth Form Crusaders by Amy E. Seymour, Blackie & Son, 1932
The Cruise of the Crazy Jane by Isabel M. Peacocke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1932
Nesta’s New School by Angela Brazil, Blackie & Son, 1932
The Guardians of Tony by Isabel M. Peacocke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1933
Cathleen with a “C” by Isabel M. Peacocke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1934
Marjolaine by Isabel M. Peacocke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1935
Pioneer Pat by Ethel Talbot, Ward, Lock & Co., 1935
A Queen Among Girls by E. Davenport Adams, Blackie & Son, 1935 (re-issue)
Nesta Finds Her Niche by Doris A. Pocock, Ward, Lock & Co., 1936
The Good Intentions of Angela by Isabel M. Peacocke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1937
Little Men by Louisa M. Alcott, Blackie & Son, 1937 (re-issue)
The Girl Sandy by May Wynne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1938
Lizbett Anne by Isabel M. Peacocke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1939
The Coming of Verity by May Wynne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1940
Sadie Sees it Through by Ethel Talbot, Ward, Lock & Co., 1940
Two Thrilling Terms by Nancy Breary, Blackie & Son, 1943
The School in the Forest by Angela Brazil, Blackie & Son, 1944

1 comment:

  1. Excellent article. Many thanks for the work you've put in and for the information provided on this sadly neglected artist.

    ReplyDelete