ugly step sisters

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