Two original pen-and-ink drawings for a short story by Enid Blyton – an interesting example of the kinds of changes that occur when a story is re-published.
Original Pen-and-Ink Illustrations for "A Very Queer Thing"
Many aspects of a production may change between a story's first appearance in print and subsequent appearances. If the format of the new appearance differs significantly from the previous version, page layouts must also be reconfigured, sometimes necessitating aesthetic revisions. This pair of pen-and-ink fairy illustrations appears to be an example of one such adjustment for publication.
The illustrator of these pieces, Helen Jacobs, was praised for the "precision, energy and imagination" of the art she contributed to children's books and various periodicals (Beetles). Among her credits are illustrations for almost 20 short stories by Enid Blyton, a British children's story powerhouse who enlisted the skill of numerous artists to illustrate her constant output. Blyton's publicity and marketing prowess made her work particularly appealing to publishers, who hoped to capitalize on her popularity with collections, serializations, and reprints.
"A Very Queer Thing," the origin of this pair of illustrations, made its first appearance in 1942 in the SUNNY STORIES periodical; no illustrator is credited in this first publication. When "A Very Queer Thing" appeared again in the 1949 ENID BLYTON'S DAFFODIL STORY BOOK collection, it was accompanied by new illustrations from Dorothy M. Wheeler. Jacobs's illustrations appear never to have been published; it is possible that Jacobs was not available for the project, and the publishers turned to Wheeler, another frequent Blyton collaborator. Or, the publisher ultimately felt that Jacobs's art was not right for the story, and selected Wheeler instead. In either case, these images, though they did not ultimately reach the final stage of publication, offer a behind-the-scenes snapshot of an early stage in the production of an illustrated book.
Read more: Chris Beetles Gallery, "Helen Jacobs BWS (1888-1970)."
n.p. n.p, [circa 1930s or 40s]. 7.5'' x 11'' (illustration 2); 7'' x 12'' (illustration 4); 11.75'' x 15'' (mats). Two original pen-and-ink drawings hinged onto mats. Pencil notations to margins giving the illustrations as numbers 2 and 4; illustration 2 with "and she poked Susie with her wand" in pencil to lower margin. Mats with some bumps; one mat with abrasion where former label was removed. Illustrations with pinprick holes to upper corners. Notably clean and sharp.
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