british illustrator

Cinderella - Told by Githa Sowerby - Illustrated by Millicent Sowerby - 1915

Cinderella – Githa and Millicent Sowerby


Cinderella – Told by Githa Sowerby – Illustrated by Millicent Sowerby – c1915

Everyone knows the story of Cinderella.  The story, in one form or another, has been around for centuries and is the ultimate fairy tale.  Who hasn’t, at one time or another, dreamed of being saved from their drab, dull or destitute life by a handsome Prince (or Princess) and whisked off to live in a palace?

Cinder’s name varies throughout Europe, all be it with a decidedly ‘ashy’ flavour; the Italian Cenerentola, the German Aschenputtel and the French Cendrillon (or, best of all, La petite Pantoufle de Verre. Isn’t that awesome? I’m wearing my furry pantoufles right now).

The early written stories varied too.  Perrault added the pumpkin and Fairy Godmother.  The aptly named Brothers Grimm added their own grisly twists – toes chopped off to enable feet to fit tiny slippers, eyeballs pecked out to punish the evil step-sisters, sleep well kiddies!

Githa Sowerby’s version of Cinderella is very close to Perrault’s, with pumpkin coach and glass slipper, Cinderella and her Prince marrying amid great rejoicing and living happily ever after.  She is less forgiving of the Ugly Sisters, who are taught a lesson and turned away from the royal wedding.  Thankfully their toes and eyeballs remain intact.Cinderella - Told by Githa Sowerby - Illustrated by Millicent Sowerby - 1915

Githa’s book was one of many collaborations with her sister Millicent. This was the first book illustrated by Millicent Sowerby in my collection and I managed to pick it up cheaply as it’s a rather ‘well read’ copy.  The front endpapers and copyright page are missing, some pages are loose and one of the prints has a tear.  BUT it is an early copy with all twelve illustrations safely nestled within their guilt frames.

Millicent’s artwork is big and beautiful, befitting of this famous tale of magic.  The illustrations, though a bit faded, have little of the yellowing old prints acquire and the colours, when corrected, are gorgeous – deep blues and purples for the night sky, pretty pastels for the ladies, the white silk of Cinderella’s ball gown.

The pictures below are the originals. Unfortunately, the gold frames appear brown after scanning.

Her unkind sisters called her Cinderella by Millicent Sowerby


They looked in the glass turning this way and that by Millicent Sowerby


Cinderella saw that she was really a very handsome old lady by Millicent Sowerby


Her godmother touched the pumpkin with her shining wand by Millicent Sowerby


Down the palace steps she ran by Millicent Sowerby


He spent the whole morning in thinking of Cinderella by Millicent Sowerby


Mothers brought their Daughters to the Palace by Millicent Sowerby


It was seen how small and pretty her foot was by Millicent Sowerby


You can imagine how happy he was to see Cinderella again by Millicent Sowerby


The restored versions are available on cards, postcards, posters and a few jigsaws and notebooks.  Please click below to take a look.  Thanks for visiting!

Millicent Sowerby cards, postcards and posters

Anne Anderson


OK, I’m over it.

For the past few months I have been sulking. Zazzle decided to change product creation without informing their sellers and we wasted a considerable amount of time contacting customer support and filling in requests for ‘further information’ and in the end, they could have just told us that things had changed. Thanks for that, Zazzle.

Anyhoo, as a result I have resized and remade the posters with a white border. Annoyingly, I really like them, and the fact that they are all the same height which means you can display them side-by-side as I always wanted. So, Zazzle, I forgive you.

Millicent Sowerby - Cinderella






In my excitement, I’ve made a lot of new stuff and have just scanned my newest book acquisitions which means there’s even more coming!

Please click on the Jolly Roger below for new Millicent Sowerby (Cinderella), Jessie Willcox Smith (improved Little Women), Alice B. Woodward (Peter Pan), E. J. Detmold (Baby Animals), wonderful Anne Anderson baby illustrations and (yey!) Hummingbirds.

Alice B. Woodward - Peter Pan

Charles Robinson prints, posters, cards, notebooks, postcards and more.


The Four Gardens Illustrated by Charles Robinson

I love Charles Robinson’s art; his chubby pen and ink children and wonderful watercolours. His style and amazing use of colour are instantly recognisable. For me, he could do no wrong.

I particularly love Robinson’s illustrations of flowers and gardens and when a very resonably priced copy of The Four Gardens by Emily ‘Handasyde’ Buchanan came up on Ebay, I grabbed it.

The November 1912 edition of The Spectator contains a very kind review of the book itself;

There is a wholesome fragrance about these garden sketches that is very pleasant. Each of the four has a character of its own, but each leads us naturally to the next, as do the colours in a well-planned garden.

They could almost be talking about the illustrations, I think.  I read on, expecting a glowing and flowery 1912 description of Robinsons art…

We have nothing but good to say of the little black-and-white illustrations, but the coloured ones are sad examples of their process. What could be less like the clear red of a strawberry for instance, than those in the picture opposite page 124?

“But they’re Charles Robinson strawberries!” I complain to the cat, who doesn’t seem to care.  I realise, with surprise, that even an illustrator from such an artistically talented family (father Thomas, brothers William and Thomas Jr.) had to satisfy the critics of the time.

This critic though, was clearly an idiot.

Charles Robinson prints, posters, cards, notebooks, postcards and more.

Here are those strawberries along with my favourite illustrations from the book.

Charles Robinson prints, posters, cards, notebooks, postcards and more.

The Rich Man’s Garden. ‘Large earthenware pots in which white madonna lilies grew were set all along the terrace at intervals.’


Charles Robinson prints, posters, cards, notebooks, postcards and more.

The Haunted Garden. ‘It was then she saw the ghost, a figure dressed in grey, bending over the flower-beds just below the haunted wall.’


Charles Robinson prints, posters, cards, notebooks, postcards and more.

The Sundial


Charles Robinson prints, posters, cards, notebooks, postcards and more.

The Old-Fashioned Garden. ‘Roses, after all, were the beginning and end of Lady Mary’s garden.’


Charles Robinson prints, posters, cards, notebooks, postcards and more.

The Rich Man’s Garden. ‘He was in mourning now, and nothing but purple flowers must henceforth grow in the garden.’

Please click below for cards, postcards and posters featuring illustrations by Charles Robinson. Thanks for visiting!

charles robinson zazzle products




Kay Nielsen prints, posters, cards and more


The Polar Bear in Art

Considering the great respect and spiritual attachment the polar bear has,  I would expect it to be featured more often in Golden Age illustration.

The great white bear has been the subject of folk tales and legends told for centuries by the Inuits and other indigenous people of the Arctic. Their stories are of polar bears teaching men to hunt, a cub adopted by a childless woman and the terrifying Nanurluk, a bear the size of an iceberg.

The Norwegian folk tales tell of men transformed into bears by evil trolls, hags or witches, wandering the tundra in search of a true love who will break the spell.

Happily, two of my favourite artists provided polar bear illustrations for such tales, Kay Nielsen and Edmund Dulac.

The first is Nielsen’s White Bear from the Norwegian folk tale, East of the Sun and West of the Moon. The bear carries his future bride to a magic castle;

“Well, mind and hold tight by my shaggy coat, and then there’s nothing to fear,” said the Bear, so she rode a long, long way.

 Eventually, through determination and a knowledge of how to remove candle wax from a shirt, the girl gets a prince and the bear gets the girl.

Kay Nielsen prints, posters, cards and more

Below is Dulac’s Snow Maiden from The Dreamer of Dreams.  The hero comes across a large number of polar bears.

They came slowly towards him, quiet and majestic, slightly swinging their heavy bodies as they glided onwards. 

They accompany a snow maiden, gathering broken hearts;

Everything about her was white, glistening and shining ; so shining that the human eye could hardly bear the radiance. her long white hair hung about her ; a circle of glow-worms surrounded her forehead.

Edmund Dulac prints, posters, cards and more


To see all illustrations by Kay Nielsen and Edmund Dulac, just click on the cards below – and thanks for visiting 🙂

Kay Nielsen prints, posters, cards and moreEdmund Dulac prints, posters, cards and more

john gould F.R.S. Ornithologist

A Monograph of the Trochilidæ, or Family of Humming-Birds

John Gould (1804-1881) was a top bod in English ornithology, curator of the Zoological Society of London and identifier of Darwin’s finches. He also loved hummingbirds.

Although he’d never seen a live hummingbird – he would see his first in 1857 – Gould had a collection of 320 species. These he exhibited at the Great Exhibition in 1851, garnering public interest and subscribers to his Monograph of the Trochilidæ, which was issued in 25 parts between 1849 and 1861 and subsequently published in 5 volumes.

The illustrations – lithographed by Henry Constantine Richter and William Hart from sketches by Gould – are as delicate and beautifully coloured as the little birds themselves.

There are over 400 plates and I must use them all. However, since I don’t think Zazzle is ready for that many hummingbird products all in one go, I’m going to use one illustration a week.

This week….


Cyanomyia franciae – Francia’s Azure-Crown – on Cuphea cordata

John Gould prints, posters, cards, postcards, notebooks

From Mr Gould’s description;

“Of the five or six known species of the genus Cyanomyia the C. Franciae may be regarded as the most beautiful….The glittering of the parts referred to is so resplendent, that it is out of the power of any person, I believe, to portray them; hence art and device are in this instance at a nonplus. In the accompanying plate a representation of these feathers is attempted with the ordinary media. If the reader can imagine the neck-plumes to be lit up with the most brilliant and glittering light possible, he may have some faint idea of their loveliness….”

John Gould - A Monograph of the Trochilidæ

Please click on the poster below to see posters, cards, postcards and notebooks featuring these gorgeous little birds. Thanks for visiting 🙂

Cyanomyia franciae - Francia's Azure-Crown - on Cuphea cordata