The Brook And Its Banks is a charming little book published in 1892, celebrating the diverse beauty of the animal and plant life to be found in and around our country’s brooks.
What could be nicer? A bubbling brook meandering lazily through the English countryside, home to a host of little creatures going about their daily business: feeding, nesting, tending their young – or maybe just basking in the sun and watching their world go by.
The book was in black and white which I didn’t feel was doing it justice so it is now entirely hand-coloured. I decided on this occasion to hollow through the back of this book as I was keen to preserve this rather lovely front cover.
Look carefully amongst the dense foliage and you just might glimpse a shrew, a vole, a colourful butterfly, a sand lizard, a snail or a maybe pair of pied wagtails.
This book “The Captain – volume 19” published in 1908, contains six monthly issues of the Edwardian magazine by the same name – a compilation that we would call an annual nowadays.
The book is subtitled rather delightfully, “A Magazine For Boys And Old Boys”. Certainly it is crammed full of lads shinning up drainpipes, climbing cliffs to raid gulls’ nests, fist fighting and generally getting into mischief. Simply oozing testosterone from every page!
This book – Punch 1853 to 1855 – is large and particularly thick and was ideal for creating a double-sided assemblage. Adding colour to the black and white cartoons helped to bring the amazing collection of characters to life – hard to believe they’re around a hundred and sixty years old, they just seem so timeless.
As I worked, little humorous scenes started to form within the book, bringing into focus that collection of wonderful facial expressions!
I found this book, Harper’s Monthly Magazine (1890), in a local charity shop. As I leafed through the pages, I noticed that there was an unusually large number of illustrations where the characters are facing away from the viewer. This gave me the idea of making a double-sided assemblage with apertures in both the front and back of the book – the front view has most of the characters facing forward, but when the book is viewed from the back, most of the characters either have their backs to their audience or have their heads turned away.
As with all the books I work on, I had a bit of fun making the characters interact with each other in ways that the authors never intended!
This book, entitled ‘The Universe’, was published in 1884 in black and white. Given the subject matter, I don’t suppose that would have been the author’s ideal – but colour printing was so expensive in those days.
The illustrations are beautiful and very detailed wood engravings – to which I have added colour using inks and watercolours.
The book lent itself to the creation of a peaceful scene, with bees buzzing and birds nesting, feeding and generally going about their daily business. All is well in the Universe . . . .
The Comic History of England, a shameless lampooning of our history, was an absolute joy to work with. Crammed with quirky and irreverent images of characters familiar to any Brit: Henry VIII, Guy Fawkes, Sir Walter Raleigh complete with the cloak he famously laid across a puddle to prevent Elizabeth I from muddying her shoes.
Working on the book was not quite a chance to rewrite history, but certainly an opportunity to play around with it!
Am exhibiting at SCOPE Art Show, New York City which opens later today with the Platinum VIP Preview Gala. Just wish I could be there in person, though I understand it’s pretty cold in NYC at the moment. Take a look if you’re in the area, I’ve heard it’s looking really exciting!