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Saturday, April 28, 2018

J C B Knight

J.C.B. KNIGHT
by
Robert J. Kirkpatrick

J.C.B. Knight could be said to have had three careers as an illustrator – firstly as a cartoonist during the 1920s, then as an illustrator of children’s stories throughout the 1930s, and finally as an illustrator of children’s reference books during the 1950s and 1960s. He was also the longest-living illustrator of his era, dying just short of his 100th birthday.

He was born on 27 September 1897 in Reigate, Surrey, and christened James Charles Burdett Knight. His father, Frank Royal Knight, was born in Southwark in May 1870, and followed his father’s career as a draper in Reigate (he had taken over a draper’s store there, at 8-10 Bell Street, in 1883). In 1894, he married Mary Burdett, born in Guildford, Surrey, in 1869, the daughter of a builder. (Frank and Mary had met whilst Frank had been an apprentice in Guildford). They went on to have two children: Frances Mary Burdett, born in 1896, and James.

At the time of the 1901 census, the family was living at 43 Bell Street, Reigate. James was being educated at Reigate Grammar School, where he played in the Cricket XI. It is not known where he received his art training (if he received any, that is), but he appears to have begun his professional career as a cartoonist in the early 1920s. For four or five years, he specialised in sporting cartoons for Punch, and he later contributed cartoons to The Bystander and The Sketch. In the mid-1920s he began providing illustrations for the Amalgamated Press’s Boys’ Friend, and he later illustrated several of Charles Hamilton’s “Rio Kid” stories for The Popular. He also provided illustrations for Young England.

On 7 November 1928 he married Evelyn Elliott (born on 20 April 1904) at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church, Redhill, Surrey. As far as is known, they had only one child, John, born in 1931.

Shortly before his marriage, his first book illustrations had appeared, in a volume of adventure stories published by John F. Shaw & Co. Knight went on to illustrate 17 more books for Shaw, all historical, adventure and school stories, including six books by F. A. M. Webster, a prolific author of novels and works on athletics. After the collapse of John F. Shaw in the mid-1930s, Knight went on to work for other publishers, most notably Blackie & Son, for whom he illustrated five stories by Percy F. Westerman.

Knight was also a musician, playing the violin with the Reigate Orchestral Society (of which his wife became leader) throughout the 1920s.

In the 1939 Register Knight was recorded at 109 Blackborough Road, Reigate, with a note to the effect that he was a member of the Reigate Special Constabulary. He was still working as an illustrator, and after the war he began his third career, illustrating children’s school books and reference books, most of which were published by A. & C. Black. These included titles such People in History (in four books), A History of Houses, Travel by Road Through the Ages, and Looking at History (four books), all written by R. J. Unstead, and biographies of Louis Pasteur and Mozart.

Having apparently retired in the mid-1960s, Knight remained at 109 Blackborough Road, Reigate, for the rest of his life. His father, who had been the Chairman of the local Holmedale Building Society between 1933 and 1957, died in 1963; his wife died in February 1974; his sister, who had worked in the family drapery business, died in December 1987; and Knight himself died in January 1997, and was buried in the churchyard of St. Mary’s Church, Reigate.


PUBLICATIONS

Illustrated by J C B Knight
Cool Courage, John F. Shaw & Co., 1928
Daring Deeds by F.A.M. Webster, John F. Shaw & Co., 1928 (with other artists)
Stirring Stories for Boys by F.A.M. Webster, John F. Shaw & Co., 1928 (with other artists)
The Grammar School Hotspurs by R.A.H. Goodyear, John F. Shaw & Co., 1930
The Adventurous Voyage: Telling of the Deeds of Some Famous Heroes by Maurice Kerr, Religious Tract Society, 1930
In Times of Peril: Girls’ Adventure Stories by various authors, John F. Shaw & Co., 1930(?)  (with other artists)
School Before All by R.A.H. Goodyear, John F. Shaw & Co., 1931
Brave Days by F.A.M. Webster, John F. Shaw & Co., 1931
Stirring Adventures by F.A.M. Webster, John F. Shaw & Co., 1931 (with other artists)
The Scouts of Windhaven by Geoffrey Prout, Blackie & Son, 1931
Mistress High and Mighty by Constance Harvey, John F. Shaw & Co., 1931
The Riddle of Rockview School by Bertha Leonard, John F. Shaw & Co., 1931
The Girls of Stone View School by Charles Herbert, John F. Shaw & Co., 1931
Wolf Cub Trails by F.A.M. Webster, John F. Shaw & Co., 1932
Pam Wins Through by Constance Harvey, John F. Shaw & Co., 1932
The School that was Different by Sibyl Owsley, John F. Shaw & Co., 1932
The Surprise Book for Boys by F.A.M. Webster, John F. Shaw & Co., 1932 (with other artists)
Stirring Adventures for Girls by various authors, John F. Shaw & Co., 1932 (with other artists)
True as Steel, John F. Shaw & Co., 1933
Millding College: A Story of School Life by F.A.M. Webster, John F. Shaw & Co., 1935
Rags the Invincible by Anton Lind, Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1937
In the Land of the Mogul: A Story of the East India Company’s First Venture in India by Geoffrey Trease, Basil Blackwell, 1938
Pilots of the Sixth and Other Stories of School and Adventure, The Epworth Press, 1938 (with Fred Wilson)
The “Q” Plane and Other Stories of School and Adventure, The Epworth Press, 1938(?) (with Richard Ogle)
Bradley of the Fifth and Other Stories of School and Adventure, The Epworth Press, 1939
The Missing Merchantman by Harry Collingwood, Blackie & Son, 1939 (re-issue) (dustwrapper)
When Allies Swept the Seas by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1940
Sea Scouts at Dunkirk by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1941
On Guard for England by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1942
The Phantom Submarine by Percy F. Westerman, Blackie & Son, 1947
Castle Rhanby by Meta Shaw, Hutchinson & Co., 1949
Sunshine Stories by various Authors, Blackie & Son, 1950  (with other artists)
Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington & Mable Esther carter, Longmans, Green & Co., 1952
The Story of Ousama, by Himself, Longmans, Green & Co., 1952
Pioneers of Progress by C.S.S. Higham, Longmans, Green & Co., 1952
Makers of Civilisation by Margaret Irene Potts, Longmans, Green & Co., 1953
Louis Pasteur by Evelyn Attwood, Longmans, Green & Co., 1954
White Nile (Reader 2) by J.A. Bright, Longmans, Green & Co., 1954
People in History, Book 1: From Caractacus to Alfred by R.J. Unstead, A. & C. Black, 1955
People in History, Book 2: From William the Conqueror to William Caxton by R.J. Unstead, A. & C. Black, 1955
People in History, Book 3: Great Tudors and Stuarts by R.J. Unstead, A. & C. Black, 1955 (with other artists)
People in History, Book 4: Great People of Modern Times by R.J. Unstead, A. & C. Black, 1955 (with other artists)
A History of Houses by R.J. Unstead, A. & C. Black, 1958
Travel by Road Through the Ages by R.J. Unstead, A. & C. Black, 1958
London: From the Earliest Times to the Present Day by John Trevor Hayes, A. & C. Black, 1959 (with other artists)
Pete’s Night Ride, and Other Stories by John Harrison, A. & C. Black, 1959
The Honey Siege by Gil Buhet, trans. By Geoffrey Sainsbury, Chatto & Windus, 1960
Adventure in Sicily by John Finnemore, A. & C. Black, 1960
Pirates Aboard by John Finnemore, A. & C. Black. 1960
The Ruby Hunters by John Finnemore, A. & C. Black, 1960
Stories of the Greek Heroes by Michael West, Longmans, Green & Co., 1960
Looking at History: 1. From Cavemen to Vikings by R.J. Unstead, A & C. Black, 1961
Looking at History: 2. The Middle Ages by R.J. Unstead, A & C. Black, 1961
Looking at History: 3. Tudors and Stuarts by R.J. Unstead, A. & C. Black, 1961
Monasteries by R.J. Unstead, A & C. Black, 1961
Living in Town and Country by A. Arkinsall & N.V. Brindley, Chatto & Windus, 1961
Travel by Sea Through the Ages by Robert J. Hoare, A. & C. Black, 1961 (with other artists)
A Commentary Upon the Holy Bible by Matthew Henry & Thomas Scott, Religious Tract Society, 1961 (re-issue)
Living in Other Lands by A. Arkinsall & N.V. Brindley, Chatto & Windus, 1962
Looking at History: 4. Queen Anne to Queen Elizabeth II by R.J. Unstead, A & C. Black, 1962
Good English Prose by Brian Jackson, Chatto & Windus, 1963
Williver’s Luck by Alice Mary Hadfield, Chatto & Windus, 1964
Looking at East Africa: The 20th Century by Zoë Marsh, A. & C. Black, 1964
Let’s Write an Essay (Book 1) by John Webber, Chatto & Windus, 1965
Looking at East Africa: The 19th Century by John S.B. Osogo, A. & C. Black, 1965
Mozart: A Biography for Children by Irene Gass, A. & C. Black 1966
Great Prime Ministers by John Whittle, A. & C. Black, 1966 (with other artists)
Living in Britain by A. Arkinsall & N.V. Brindley, Chatto & Windus, 1968
Living in the World at Large by A. Arkinsall & N.V. Brindley, Chatto & Windus, 1968
This Wonderful World by Agnes Nightingale, A. & C. Black, 1968

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