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Saturday, April 14, 2018

J Macfarlane

J. MACFARLANE
by
Robert J. Kirkpatrick

A search for information about the illustrator J. Macfarlane would almost certainly lead to the conclusion that he was Australian. Several websites refer to him as a “late colonial period painter, political cartoonist and illustrator [who] made dramatic historical drawings of Australian exploration subjects…..:, and that he “flourished c. 1890 – c. 1898.” The Booktryst blog, in November 2011, stated “Little is known about the artist J. Macfarlane. It appears that he was an Australian painter and illustrator who contributed cartoons to The Barrier Daily Truth in the 1890s.”

However, Macfarlane was born and brought up in Scotland, and while he did spend a few years in Australia at the end of the 19th century, most of his career was spent in England.

He was born in Bonhill, Dunbartonshire, on 15 May 1857, and christened John Fleming Cullen Macfarlane, the last of nine children of Patrick Macfarlane (1822-1904), a druggist, and his wife Elizabeth, née McKenzie (1819-1885). The family lived in Bonhill for many years, moving from Maxwell’s Land, Bridge Street, to Myrtle House, Main Street, in the 1860s.

It is not known where Macfarlane received his artistic training, but by the time of the 1881 census he was already working as an artist, living with his parents in Bonhill. Shortly after this he moved to Australia, probably accompanied by Louisa Wallace (born in Campbeltown, Argyllshire, in 1854), as they were married on 9 November 1883 in Moonee Ponds, Victoria. They went on have five children, all born in Victoria, between 1885 and 1896.

Macfarlane appears to have established himself as an artist in Australia in 1884, when he collaborated with the wood engraver F.A. Sleap on a series of illustrations (“Sketches on the Coast”) for The Illustrated Australian News. In 1890, Macfarlane and Sleap were also working for The Australian News and Musical Times. Macfarlane subsequently became sympathetic to the cause of striking miners at Broken Hill, an isolated mining town in New South Wales, and he contributed drawings illustrating the dispute to The Queensland Leader. Also in that year he illustrated his first book, At The Races: The Melbourne Cup 1892. In 1898, he began contributing cartoons to The Barrier Daily Truth, a newspaper which had been launched in January 1898 in Broken Hill, again offering support to the local miners.

Macfarlane left Australia shortly after this and came to England, as in the 1901 census he was recorded at “St. David’s”, Mitcham Road, Tooting, with his wife and five children. By then, he had begun a second career as an illustrator of children’s books, with The Romance of Greystones: An Australian Story, written by H. Arnold Nelson and published by Ward, Lock & Co. in 1899. (He had earlier contributed illustrations to The Windsor Magazine in 1897 and 1898, and to Harper’s New Monthly Magazine and The Ludgate Monthly in 1898). Ward, Lock & Co., founded in 1854 as Ward & Lock, had opened an office in Melbourne, Australia in 1884, and it went on to publish a large number of Australian children’s stories which appeared simultaneously in both the UK and Australia. Macfarlane, with his albeit brief experience of life in Australia, was an obvious choice to illustrate some of these, and between 1900 and 1924 he illustrated several stories by authors such as Ethel Turner, her sister Lilian Turner, Mary Grant Bruce and Lilian M. Pyke (including her three famous Australian public school stories Max the Sport, Jack of St. Virgil’s and The Best School of All). Indeed, most of his work was for Ward, Lock & Co. – he illustrated well over 40 books for the company.

He also illustrated a handful of re-issues of classic English novels, including Robinson Crusoe, Walter Scott’s Talisman, and, most notably, Tom Brown’s Schooldays, published by Macmillan & Co. in 1904, with no fewer than 32 black and white plates.

In 1901, he began contributing to the boys’ story paper The Captain, with illustrations for a series of Boer War stories by John Mackie, and in 1906 he began contributing to The Boy’s Own Paper. He was also an occasional contributor to The Sphere.

At the time of the 1911 census, he was living with his wife and two of his children at 33 Crockerton Road, Tooting.   In 1921, he re-drew six of John Tenniels’ illustrations for Alice in Wonderland – Alice and the White Rabbit, The Dodo Presenting the Thimble to Alice, The Cheshire Cat, The Mad Tea-Party, The Mock Turtle's Story, The Trial of the Knave of Hearts – with the new illustrations initially being produced as large colour posters. They were subsequently used in a new edition of the book published by Macmillan in 1927. This was apparently the first instance of Macmillan licensing illustrations for the story by someone other than Tenniel.

By the end of the 1920s, Macfarlane appears to have retired, as no further books containing his illustrations have been traced after this date other then a couple of re-issues of earlier titles.

His wife had died in Wandsworth in September 1919, and was buried in Putney Vale Cemetery, Wandsworth, on 12 September. Macfarlane himself died at his home, 9 Homefield Road, Wimbledon, on 9 October 1936, and was buried alongside his wife four days later.


PUBLICATIONS

Books illustrated by J. Macfarlane
At the Races: The Melbourne Cup 1892, Robert A. Thompson & Co., 1892
Australian Bush Tales by George Dunderdale, Ward, Lock & Co., 1898
Cola Monti, or The Story of a Genius by Mrs Craik, W. & R. Chambers, 1898 (with R. Barnes) (re-issue)
The Romance of the Greystones: An Australian Story by H. Arnold Nelson, Ward, Lock & Co., 1899
True as Steel: Stories of Courage and Conflict by Gordon Stables and others, John F. Shaw, 1900 (with other artists)
Our Darlings: The Children’s Treasury of Pictures and Stories, John F, Shaw, 1900 (with other artists
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, Macmillan & Co., 1900 (re-issue)
The Talisman by Walter Scott, Macmillan & Co., 1900 (re-issue)
Duck Lake: Stories of the Canadian Backwoods by E. Ryerson Young, Religious Tract Society, 1900
The Warrigal’s Well: A North Australian Story by Donald MacDonald & John F. Edgar, Ward, Lock & Co., 1901
The French Prisoners: A Story for Boys by Edward Bertz, Macmillan & Co., 1902 (re-issue)
Green Barley: An Australian Story by H. Arnold Nelson, Ward, Lock & Co., 1902
Captain Cook by Walter Besant, Macmillan & Co., 1903 (re-issue)
Under the She-Oaks by Elisabeth Boyd Bayly, Religious Tract Society, 1903
A Daughter of the People by Murray Home, Ward, Lock & Co., 1904
Tom Brown’s Schooldays by Thomas Hughes, Macmillan & Co., 1904 (re-issue)
Captain Polly by Sophie Dwett, T. Nelson & Sons, 1906
In the Mist of the Mountains by Ethel Sybil Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1906
A Golden Shadow by L.T. Meade, Ward, Lock & Co., 1906
The Willoughby Boys by Emily Hartley, T. Nelson & Sons, 1906 (re-issue)
The Leather Mask by Ambrose Pratt, Ward, Lock & Co., 1907
Feadora’s Failure by Lucie E. Jackson, Ward, Lock & Co., 1907
From Scapegrace to Hero, or The Adventures and Triumphs of Jem Blake by Ernest Protheroe, Religious Tract Society, 1907
The Stolen Voyage by Ethel Sybil Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1907
Grimm’s Fairy Tales: A Selection from the “Household Stories” of the Brothers Grimm, Alfred Trice Martin (ed.), Macmillan & Co., 1908
Days that Speak: A Story of Australian Child Life by Evelyn Goode, Ward, Lock & Co., 1908
First Person Paramount by Ambrose Pratt, Ward, Lock & Co., 1908
Two Girls in a Siege: A Tale of the Great Civil War by E.C. Kenyon, Religious Tract Society, 1908
The Kipling Reader: Selections from the Books of Rudyard Kipling, Macmillan & Co., 1908
Love and a Will o’ the Wisp by H. Louisa Bedford, Religious Tract Society, 1908
Paradise and the Perrys by Lilian Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1908
Fugitives from Fortune by Ethel Sybil Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1909
The Camp Doctor and Other Stories by Egerton Ryerson Young, Religious Tract Society, 1909
The Perry Girls by Lilian Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1909
The Recollections of Geoffrey Hamlyn by Henry Kingsley, Ward, Lock & Co., 1909(?) (re-issue)
Three New Chum Girls by Lilian Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1910
A Little Bush Maid by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1910
The Hillside Children by Agnes Giberne, Religious Tract Society, 1910
Prosperity’s Child by Eleanora H. Stooke, Religious Tract Society, 1910
Love Conquers All by Jean A. Owen, Religious Tract Sociey, 1910
April Girls by Lilian Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1911
Myddleton’s Treasure by Ernest Protheroe, Religious Tract Society, 1911
Young Pickles by Stuart Wishing, Ward, Lock & Co., 1911
Mates at Billabong by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1911
Timothy in Bushland by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1912
Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1912 (re-issue)
Stairway to the Stars by Lilian Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1913
Norah of Billabong by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1913
The Children’s Shakespeare: Henry V, Macmillan & Co., 1914
The Girl from the Back-blocks by Lilian Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1914
Mona’s Mystery man by Vera G, Dwyer, Ward, Lock & Co., 1914
Jim and Wally by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1916
Max the Sport by Lilian M. Pyke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1917
Jack of St. Virgil’s by Lilian M. Pyke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1917
Possum by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1917
Phyl of the Camp by Lilian M. Pyke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1918
Dick by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1918
Robin of the Round House by Isabel M. Peacocke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1918
A Prince at School by Lilian M. Pyke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1919
Captain Jim by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1919
Bruce at Boonderong Camp by Lilian M. Pyke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1920
Dick Lester of Kurrajong by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1920
The Best School of All by Lilian M. Pyke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1921
Back to Billabong by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1921
The Doctor’s Experiment by H. Frederick Charles, Religious Tract Society, 1921 (re-issue)
The Ship That Never Set Sail by Edith Jean Curlewis, Ward, Lock & Co., 1922
The Stone Axe of Birkamukk by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1922
Sheila at Happy Hills by Lilian Pyke, Ward, Lock & Co., 1922
Drowning Maze by Jean Curlewis, Ward, Lock & Co., 1922
Tales from Shakespeare by Charles & Mary Lamb, Macmillan & Co., 1923
Billabong’s Daughter by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1924
Fables from the East, Macmillan & Co., 1925(?)
Stories from the Arabian Nights, Macmillan & Co., 1925
Billabong Adventurers by Mary Grant Bruce, Ward, Lock & Co., 1927
Cast up by the Sea by Sir Samuel Baker, Macmillan & Co., 1927
Australian Etiquette by Lilian M. Pyke, J. Pollard (Melbourne), 1942 (re-issue)
Little Mother Meg by Ethel Sybil Turner, Ward, Lock & Co., 1943 (re-issue)

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