Today, dear Planksters, I wanted to share with you the joy I experienced when reading about E.H Shephard, illustrator extraordinaire to whom one would have immediately and without reservation, doffed one’s hat on sight!
The first book I delved into was ‘E.H. Shephard – The Man Who Drew Pooh’ written by Arthur R Chandler. It’s a very factual book of Mr Shephard’s life that is littered throughout with his wonderful ‘non-Pooh’ drawings.
You get the impression of a very talented artist with a good sense of fun.
I followed this book up with E. H Shephard’s two delightful autobiographies, ‘Drawn from Memory’ and ‘Drawn from Life’ and it was like sitting down to listen to a favourite uncle fill in the details of the facts you had heard about his life.
‘Drawn From Memory’ tells of a year in E. H Shephard’s boyhood (1887 when he was aged seven to eight years old) growing up in London. He transports you back in time and introduces you to all the key people in his young world, from his immediate family and the household staff right through to 'The Aunts'!
Capturing the feel of childhood, sometimes interesting, often boring and at times downright confusing, you get the feel of a small boy who was never happier than when out and about having adventures on his ride on tricycle horse, Septimus!
(What a genius name – the credit goes to E.H Shephard’s father!)
Mr Shephard’s illustrations really bring his words to life and as with his ‘Pooh pictures’; they can be studied with joy for hours.
‘Drawn From Life’ covers the period between 1890 which saw the untimely death of his mother to 1904 the year that E.H Shephard became engaged to his first wife, Florence Chaplin, known as ‘Pie’. This book is written with the same warmth and gentle humour and again is self-illustrated to perfection.
Any of these books can be read on their own, but I found that having the facts first and then the personal retelling afterwards, gave me a good sense of where what was being said fitted into E. H Shephard’s life. This personally added to the interest for me.
Planksters, I highly recommend these books, if for the illustrations alone, but they also transfer you to a different time, where life seemed a little slower and the grass, a little greener.
As always, don’t be shy to comment – be it about Mr Shephard, a passing greeting or just a random thought you care to share with y’fellow Planksters!
With a warm inner glow that is undetectable from the outside,