Saturday, March 10, 2018

Arthur Twidle

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

Arthur Twidle was, in the first decade of the 20th century, well-known as an illustrator of Arthur Conan Doyle stories, both in The Strand Magazine and in hardback from. But he was also a fairly prolific illustrator of children’s books, particularly adventure stories, and other books, being closely associated with Silas K. Hocking and Frank Thomas Bullen.

He was born in Rotherhithe, Surrey, in 1864. His father, Alfred, was a cooper, born in Rotherhithe in 1833; his mother, Rachel, born in Rotherhithe in 1834, was a glovemaker, the daughter of William Smith, a shipwright from Bermondsey. They had five children as well as Arthur: Rachel (born in 1854), Alfred (1860), Emily (1862), Clara (1870), and Alice Maud (1876).

At the time of the 1871 census, the family was living at 34 Winchester Street, Rotherhithe. Alfred’s mother died in 1879, and Alfred was sent to live with his uncle, Thomas Morris, a cooper, and his family, at 21 Tranton Road, Bermondsey. Arthur was already working as a wood engraver, although where, and where, he learnt his craft is not known. (Arthur’s father subsequently, in April 1882, married Martha Selina Smith, née Riggitt, a widow whose first husband had died in 1870).

On 11 July 1885 Arthur Twidle married Annie Elizabeth Mason, born in 1866, the daughter of John James Mason, an engineer, at St. Olave’s Church, Southwark. They were both, at the time, living at 89 Abbey Street, Bermondsey.

Twidle had already moved away from engraving to illustrating, with his first work, an engraving by E. Evans of a black and white drawing of a cedar tree, appearing in a collection of stories and verses for children published by James Nisbet & Co. in 1883. He went on to illustrate several more books issued by Nisbet, including several novels by R. M. Ballantyne. He illustrated his first Silas K. Hocking novel, The Day of Recompense, published by Frederick Warne & Co., in 1899, and he went on to illustrate at least seven more, ending in 1911 with The Quenchless Fire. Also in 1899 he illustrated his first Frank Thomas Bullen story, The Log of a Sea Waif, published by Smith, Elder & Co. Bullen, who had gone to sea at the age of 12 in 1869, went on to become a prolific author of sea stories, and Twidle illustrated at least nine of them.

In 1891 Twidle and his wife were living at ‘Eversley’, 262 Lordship Lane, Camberwell. They had had two children:  Annie, born in 1888, and Arthur, born in 1889. Two years later, in 1893 Twidle began contributing to The English Illustrated Magazine and The Family Friend. He went on to contribute to several other periodicals, including Good Words, The Quiver, The British Workman, The Temple Magazine, The Red Magazine, The Wide World Magazine, The Leisure Hour, Cassell’s Family Magazine, Chums, and The Sunday at Home. He became a close friend of the campaigning journalist W. T. Stead, and contributed to his magazine The Review of Reviews, launched in 1890 by Stead in partnership with George Newnes. This was primarily a vehicle for Stead, who wrote most of its content – book and magazine reviews, articles commenting on world events, with Twidle providing illustrations and cartoons. However, Twidle was to become best-known for his contributions to The Woman at Home, The Strand Magazine and The Boy’s Own Paper.

The Woman at Home, usually sub-titled "Annie S. Swan’s Magazine", had been launched by Hodder &Stoughton in 1893, with Annie S. Swan, a Scottish novelist, as editor. Twidle began illustrating her own stories in the magazine in 1895, continuing to do so until 1904. In 1903, Twidle was commissioned by Smith, Elder & Co. (in partnership with the New York firm of D. Appleton & Co.) to illustrate eleven of the twelve titles in their “Author’s Edition” of the works of Arthur Conan Doyle. Two years later, he was commissioned to illustrate Doyle’s historical story Sir Nigel in The Strand Magazine, eventually producing no fewer than 125 black and white illustrations. He went on to illustrate five more Conan Doyle stories for the magazine – indeed, after the death of Sidney Paget, who had been illustrating Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories in The Strand since 1891, in 1908, Doyle, when he was writing a new Holmes story, specifically asked for Twidle, with whom he was very impressed, to supply the illustrations. Unfortunately, Twidle was not on good terms with The Strand Magazine’s art editor, W.H.G. Boot, and despite Doyle trying to act as a broker between them, Twidle went on to illustrate only two more Holmes stories, 'A Reminiscence of Sherlock Holmes' (also known as 'The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge') and 'The Adventure of the Bruce Partington Plans', both in 1908, and two non-Holmes stories, 'The Lord of Falconbridge' and 'The Homecoming', in 1909.

As well as The Strand Magazine, Twidle was also closely associated with The Boy’s Own Paper, for which he illustrated several serials, mainly adventures stories set overseas, and numerous short stories between 1906 and 1924.

As a book illustrator, Twidle specialized in boys’ historical and adventure stories, working for a number of publishers, in particular Frederick Warne & Co., Jarrold & Sons, and the Religious Tract Society. He also illustrated a handful of boys’ school stories, including three by Charles J. Mansford, and several girls’ stories. Some online sources, as well as newspaper obituaries after his death, claimed that he illustrated several books by Gilbert Parker and H. Rider Haggard – however, it has not been possible to trace any of these.

One of Twidle’s particular interests was entomology, which found an expression in his book Beautiful Butterflies of the Tropics: How to Collect Them, published by the Religious Tract Society in 1920. This contained 13 colour plates, including scenes of butterfly hunters in action, along with numerous black and white line drawings in the text. It was, however, was a bit of a fraud on Twidle’s part, as he never visited the tropics, but rather collected his specimens from commercial sources. Nevertheless, his expertise was recognized when he was subsequently elected a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society.

Twidle had also always been interested in religious art, and towards the end of his life he focused almost exclusively on this, the highlight being The New Oxford Pictorial Bible, published by the Oxford University Press in 1934, for which he provided 16 colour plates.

While Twidle also painted – in oil, watercolour and pastel – unlike many of his contemporaries he did not exhibit a great deal. He had two pictures shown at the Royal Academy in 1903 and 1913, the first bring a scene from Conan Doyle’s novel Micah Clarke. He also exhibited at the United Society of Artists, and at other minor galleries. He was also apparently well-known for his mural painting, with The Surrey Mirror noting, in an article celebrating his golden wedding anniversary in July 1935, that he had produced a mural for a church in America.

In 1901, Twidle and his family were living at “Burleigh”, Foots Cray, Sidcup, Kent, along with a 22 year-old domestic servant. They were still there ten years later, when Twidle’s son Arthur had begun working as an automobile engineer. They later moved to The Rowans, Godstone Green, Godstone, Surrey. It was here that he and his wife celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. Sadly, he died a year later, on 26 April 1936, and was buried in the churchyard of Godstone’s St. Nicholas Church. He did not leave a will. His wife died in a nursing home in Minehead, Somerset, on 9 January 1963, aged 97, leaving an estate valued at just over £9,000.


Beautiful Butterflies of the Tropics. How to Collect Them, Religious Tract Society, 1920

Books illustrated by A. Twidle
Ben Brightboots and Other True Stories, Hymns and Music by Frances Ridley Havergal, James Nisbet & Co., 1883
The Giant of the North: Adventures Round the Pole by R.M. Ballantyne, James Nisbet & Co., 1886
The Middy and the Moors: An Algerine Story by R.M. Ballantyne, James Nisbet & Co., 1888
Six Months at the Cape by R.M. Ballantyne, James Nisbet & Co., 1888 (re-issue)
The Crew of the Water Wagtail by R.M. Ballantyne, James Nisbet & Co., 1889
The Garret and the Garden, and Jeff Benson by R.M. Ballantyne, James Nisbet & co., 1890
Deeds of Gold by various authors, Edward Arnold, 1892 (with other artists)
Deep Down: A Tale of the Cornish Mines by R.M. Ballantyne, James Nisbet & Co., 1893 (re-issue)
The Reef of Gold by Maurice H. Harvey, Sampson Low, 1894
The Secret of the Desert; or, How We Crossed Arabia in the 'Antelope’ by E. Douglas Fawcett, Edward Arnold, 1895
Travel Pictures from Palestine by James Wells, Isbister & Co., 1896
With the Mission to Menelik, 1897 by Lord Edward Gleichen, Edward Arnold, 1898
A Nine Days’ Wonder, or The Mystery in the House: A Tale of the Turf by Edward Garrett, “Home Words” Publishing Office, 1898
The Day of Recompense by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1899
The Log of a Sea Waif by Frank T. Bullen, Smith, Elder & Co., 1899
In Moorish Captivity. An Account of the 'Tourmaline' Expedition to Sus, 1897-98 by Henry M. Grey, Edward Arnold, 1899
The “Polly’s” Apprentice by Tom Bevan, Edward Arnold, 1900
Deep-Sea Plunderings. A collection of Stories of the Sea by Frank T. Bullen, Smith, Elder & Co., 1901
From a Turret Window by Annie S. Swan, Hodder & Stoughton, 1902
Sea Wrack: Adventures at Sea by Frank T. Bullen, Macmillan & Co., 1903
Money and the Man by Harry Marsh Ward, Religious Tract Society, 1903
Cristina: A Romance of Italy in Olden Days by Emily Underdown, Swan Sonnenschein, 1903
Niece Diana by Marion Ward, Isbister & Co., 1903
The Sins of a Saint: An Historical Romance by J.R. Aitken, Swan Sonnenschein & Co., 1903
The Road to Manhood by William Beach Thomas, G. Allen, 1904
Sea Puritans by Frank T. Bullen, Hodder & Stoughton, 1904
By Unseen Hands by Eric Lisle, “Sunday Companion” Office, 1904
Miss Greyshott’s Girls by Evelyn Everett Green, Andrew Melrsoe, 1905
The Flaming Sword by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1905
Adam Bede by George Eliot, Andrew Melrose, 1905 (re-issue)     
Frank Brown, Sea Apprentice by Frank. T. Bullen, James Nisbet & Co., 1906
Our Heritage of the Sea by Frank. T. Bullen, Smith, Elder & Co., 1906
The Squire’s Daughter by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1906
A Modern Pharisee by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Ware & Co., 1907
The Silent Man by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1907
Young Nemesis by Frank T. Bullen, James Nisbet & Co., 1908
The Quest of Douglas Holms by H. Escott Inman, Frederick Warne & Co., 1908
The Shadow Between by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1908
Yours and Mine by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1908
Ray: The Boy Who Lost and Won by J. Williams Butcher, Robert Culley 1908
Armadin, or A Tale of Old Winchester by Alfred Bowker, Sir J. Causton & Sons, 1908
The Seed of the Righteous by Frank T. Bullen, Robert Culley, 1908
A Desperate Hope by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1909
Fags and the King by C.J. Mansford, Jarrold & Sons, 1909
A Son of Odin by Elsie K. Seth Smith, Jarrold & Sons, 1909
The Bitter South: A Story of Whaling in the Antarctic Seas by Frank. T. Bullen, Robert Culley, 1909
For King or Parliament: The Story of a Yorkshire Roundhead by Samuel Horton, Robert Culley, 1909
Boys of the Brigade by Ernest Protheroe, Jarrold & Sons, 1909
Prefect and Fag by C.J. Mansford, Jarrold & Sons, 1910
Our Marathon Race by Dora Bee, Religious Tract Society, 1910
Brave Sons of the Empire by Henry Moore, Religious Tract Society, 1910
Scouting for a King by Ernest Protheroe, Jarrold & Sons, 1910
Uncle Hal by Lady Macalister, Jarrold & Sons, 1910
Money and the Man by H.M. Ward, Religious Tract Society, 1910
The Rebellion of Margaret by Geraldine Mockler, Jarrold & Sons, 1910
Belle and Dolly by Anne Beale, Religious Tract Society, 1910
The Making of Treherne by J. Williams Butcher, Charles H. Kelly, 1911
The Perils of Peterkin. A Story of Adventure in North-West Canada by Robert Leighton, Jarrold & Sons, 1911
The Quenchless Fire by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1911
Hidden in Canadian Wilds by John Mackie, James Nisbet & Co., 1911
Junk Ahoy! A tale of the China Seas by William Charles Metcalf, Jarrold & Sons, 1911
Jeffrey of the White Wolf Trail by J. Claverdon Wood, Religious Tract Society, 1912
Three Boys in Antarctica by G. Warren Payne, Charles H. Kelly, 1912
Canadian Jack by John Mackie, James Nisbet & Co., 1913
The Fiery Totem: A Tale of Adventure in the Canadian North-West by C.F. Argyll Saxby, Religious Tract Society, 1913
Schoolboy Grit by Gunby Hadath, James Nisbet & Co., 1913
Aunt Diana by Rosa Nouchette Carey, “Girl’s Own Paper” Office, 1914
Headmistress Hilary by Kathlyn Rhodes, James Nisbet & Co., 1914
A Fight for Fortune, or The Tiger of Batol by T.C. Bridges, James Nisbet & Co., 1914
Little Miss Muffet by Rosa Nouchette Carey, “Girl’s Own Paper” Office, 1914
The Prairie Chief by R.M. Ballantyne, James Nisbet & Co., 1914 (re-issue)
An Admiral’s Son, and How He Founded Pennsylvania by Edith O’Brien, Headley Brothers, 1917
Through Eastern Windows. Life Stories of an Indian City by A.J. Marris, Religious Tract Society, 1919
Through A Reed Frame by Lily Sandford, Religious Tract Society, 1919
The Treasure of Tregudda: A Story of a Cornish Mystery and its Unravelling by C.F. Argyll Saxby, The “Boy’s Own Paper” Office, 1920
How the Empire Grew. The Story of the British Colonisation, with a Chapter on the League of Nations by Harry Cooper, Religious Tract Society, 1921 (with Alfred Pearse)
David, The Chief Scout by George A. Parkisnon, Religious Tract Society, 1921
The Settler of Serpent Creek. A Tale of the Canadian Prairie by C.F. Argyll Saxby, “The Boy’s Own Paper” Office, 1921
The Fourth Form at Westbourne by C.J. Mansford, Jarrold & Sons, 1923
The Quest for the Arctic Poppy: A Tale of the Great Ice-Wastes of the Far North by Raymond Raife, The “Boy’s Own Paper” Office, 1923
The Children of the Cresent by Amy Le Feuvre, Religious Tract Society, 1923
The Oak Staircase: A Narrative of the Times of James II by M. & C. Lee, James Nisbet & Co., 1923 (Re-issue)
The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, John C. Winston Co., 1923 (re-issue)
Blundering Bettina by May Wynne, Religious Tract Society, 1924
The Right Rowena by Edna Lake, Religious Tract Society, 1924
The Good Shepherd (by Anon.), Religious Tract Society, 1924
Stories from Formosa by Marjorie Landsborough, Religious Tract Society, 1924
Kookaburra Jack: A Story of Australian School Life by C.F. Argyll Saxby, The “Boy’s Own Paper” Office, 1925
Rumours in the Fourth Form by Dorothy Dennison, Religious Tract Society, 1925
Next Door to Number Five by Katherine L. Oldmeadow, Religious Tract Society, 1925
Bible Heroes (by Anon.), Religious Tract Society, 1925 (with A.A. Dixon)
Golden Tales for All by Marie L. Christlieb, Religious Tract Society, 1926 (with Harold Copping)
Joel, A Boy of Galilee by Annie F. Johnston, Religious Tract Society, 1926 (re-issue)
Twenty-six Good Stories for Girls by various authors, The “Girl’s Own Paper” Office, 1926 (with other artists)
Twenty-six Christine Chaundler School Stories for Girls by Christine Chaundler, The “Girl’s Own Paper” Office, 1926
Old Nick of Pig’s by R.J. Bellamy, The “Boy’s Own Paper” Office, 1927
Joseph the Pioneer by George A. Parkinson, Religious Tract Society, 1928
The World’s Children by Margaret Cameron, James Nisbet & Co., 1929 (re-issue)
The New Oxford Pictorial Bible, Oxford University Press, 1934
Come Unto Me, Oxford University Press, 1934
Jesus Calls Us, Oxford University Press, 1934
The Old Old Story, Oxford University Press, 1934 (with W.H. Margetson)
Pictures for the Classroom, Oxford University Press, 1934 (with other artists)
The Little Bible, Oxford University Press, 1935
A Yorkshire Baking by Florence Bone, Religious Tract Society, 1935

The Author’s Edition published by Smith, Elder & Co., 1903:
The White Company
Micah Clarke
The Refugees
Rodney Stone
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
A Study in Scarlet, and The Sign of Four
The Great Shadow, and Uncle Bernac
A Duet, with an Occasional Chorus
Tragedy of the Korosko and The Green Flag
The Stark Munro Letters and Round the Red Lamp

1 comment:

  1. Arthur Twidle moved with his wife to The Rowans (no 6 Ivy Mill Lane) Godstone GReen RH9 8NH in 1925. He constructed a studio in the garden where he has left a mural.



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