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Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Heavenly Blue Wedding

Probably the most iconic paper doll book of the mid 20th century, this set is still highly sought after by collectors today.  As it was produced by Merrill in 1955 my mother must have bought it before I was born, at least 10 years before I was old enough to play with it.  I can remember it from early childhood, a magical representation of every little girl's dream wedding.  I named the dolls after the people who made up my world - the bride was called Molly after my mom and I truly believed she was modelled on her. (I included a photo of my mother on her wedding day in the post on Mervyn Suart.)















Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Jose Ortiz



While putting together the pages of this blog I have been amazed at the sheer volume of work completed by many of the illustrators featured.  This output must be seen in the context of the incredibly high quality of their art, especially considering that they must often have been adhering to strict publishing deadlines.  

Jose Ortiz (1932 - ) is a Spanish born illustrator, world renowned for his work as a comic strip artist and cartoonist. Such is his popularity in other genres it is virtually impossible to find references to his work as a children's illustrator.. (See Yesterday's Papers or Desk Artes for examples of his better known art.)

Despite this I think Ortiz produced some of the loveliest illustrations of my childhood.  He is equally adept at portraying 'modern' children, fairies, elves, princesses and comic characters.  He has a delightfully light touch and the wide-eyed appeal and slightly humorous characterisation of much of his work make it truly evocative of the era.   



Jose Ortiz - The Magic Cat


Jose Ortiz - Johnny Long Legs


Jose Ortiz - The Wishing Well that Stopped

 
Jose Ortiz - The Flower Clock

Louise and the White Deer
Louise and the White Deer
Jose Ortiz - The Very Brave Princess
Illustrations from various issues of Once Upon a Time magazine

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mervyn Suart

Mervyn Suart (1908 - 1992) is a very illusive artist. Very little information is available about his life or his work (he was a British illustrator and lived in London all his life.) 

These beautifully detailed paintings of the signs of the Zodiac appeared in the children's magazine 'Once Upon a Time' (1970).  They have an epic quality, reminiscent of the sumptuous allegorical murals painted by Rubens.

This depiction of Virgo is my favourite (only half of the painting is included here).  She is exquisitely beautiful and incredibly serene.  In many ways she reminds me of my mother. 

Mervyn Suart - Virgo
 
My wonderful mom Molly (1930 -1999)


My parents on their wedding day in 1957
Eight of these paintings are easily discovered on the web.  They can be found at the Look and Learn website together with another lovely illustration by Suart from a magazine called 'The Bible Story'. 

One of the paintings in this series I have not found reproduced anywhere else is this one representing Sagittarius.  It was too big for me to scan as one image but I have tried to position it in such a way that it is shown to best advantage.




Zodiac illustrations taken from 'Once Upon a Time' magazine 

 
St Valentine

As St Valentine's Day is almost upon us I thought it would be appropriate to include some photos taken at the church where his remains can be found.  I'm not sure if many people outside of Ireland know that St Valentine's remains were brought to Dublin in 1835, a gift from Pope Gregory XVI to an Irish Carmelite named Father John Spratt.  The church is very close to my work and I walk past it quite often. Although founded in the 13th century, the current building owes more to the 50's and 60's and is not very picturesque.  I felt it a bit intrusive to take photographs inside at St Valentine's shrine, so instead I took a couple of pictures of this statue of Mary that stands at the entrance to the church.  I think she is lovely, another example of delicate beauty and serene grace.


 











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