I see that Ladybird have now started to sell prints of their artwork archive:
There are hours of fun to be had here, browsing through some wonderful prints. I think I would have spent quite a lot of money here once upon a time, before I developed an expensive taste for the original artwork.
One thing strikes me as strange, though. I notice that the artists aren't credited on the site. The author of a given book is credited even though the text is not reproduced, but not the artist! Hardly seems fair.
Also, I wonder what they mean when they state that the artwork comes from the 'Ladybird Archive'. I assumed at first that this must be a physical collection of artwork which Ladybird (Penguin) hold - as I know they do. But the fact is that there are prints on this site, the original artwork for which resides in my living-room, so that can't be right.
Anyway, have fun browsing.
Thursday, 20 March 2008
Tuesday, 4 March 2008
Last week the BBC forwarded on to me a letter from the son of George Murray, author of probably the rarest Ladybird Book for collectors: The Impatient Horse. It was a lovely letter and in it he mentioned the origins of the story:
"In those days United Dairies, who had a depot at Esher, delivered milk in horse-drawn vans. Our milkman was called Old Harry and my mother, who had a kind heart, used to offer him a cup of tea which he would drink in the kitchen of our suburban house. The horse would, of course, have to wait for him and after a few minutes he would get fed up and would try to come into the gate, pulling his cart right across the pavement"
Apparently Murray wrote another book for Ladybird in the same style: "The Fairy Fair". But for some reason the IH did not sell well, the series was discontinued and The Fairy Fair, presumably, was lost to the world.
But at least The Impatient Horse's short life-span has ensured that today it is loved and prized by Ladybods.