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Sunday, September 24, 2017

J Ley Pethybridge

J. LEY PETHYBRIDGE
by
Robert J. Kirkpatrick

J. Ley Pethybridge was a gifted artist adept in a variety of forms  –  black and white illustrations for books (especially children’s books) and periodicals, and landscapes and genre paintings in oils and watercolours. Unfortunately, he died aged only 40.

He was born on 7 April 1865 in Launceston, Cornwall, and christened John Ley Pethybridge. His father, Edward Pethybridge (1822-1907) was a prominent banker (founder of a local bank), local politician, Methodist preacher and, later in his life, an Alderman and J.P. His mother, Emma (née Dingley – 1836-1906) was Edward’s second wife  – his first, Eliza Jane (née Dingley – her relationship to Emma is not known), with whom he had three daughters, had died in 1859. Edward and Emma, who married in 1862, went on to have four sons (Edward, John, Frank and William). The family lived for many years at Manaton, Launceston.

John Ley Pethybridge was educated at Dunheved College, Launceston. As well as showing a natural talent for art, he was also a talented musician, regularly performing in local concerts, in particular on the violin and banjo, and giving recitals. In addition, he was a keen sportsman, playing cricket and football for Launceston, and also enjoying shooting and fishing.

After leaving school he went to London, where he worked in a studio in St. John’s Wood. He then studied in Bruges, and later with the Newlyn school of Painters in Cornwall. For a time around the beginning of the 20th century he studied under the wildlife painter John Emms at his studio in Lyndhurst in the New Forest, while lodging with Thomas Vithyan, a house painter, and his family, in Pemberton Road, Lyndhurst.

On 10 July 1902, at All Saints Church, Okehampton, Devon, he married Ethel Grace Pearse (born in Hatherleigh, Devon, in 1882), with whom he went on to have one child, Annabel Grace, born on 30 July 1903. They settled at Stratton, near Bude, in north Cornwall, where he became active in the local Ratepayers Association and, shortly before his death, a manager of Stratton day school.

As an artist, Pethybridge began establishing himself in the late 1880s. He exhibited at the Bristol Academy in 1887, The Society of Western Artists in Plymouth in 1892, The Royal Society of British Artists in 1893, and the Royal Academy, beginning in 1894. However, he was best-known, in Devon and Cornwall at least, for his black and white illustrations in books of local interest, beginning with a re-issue of Eden Phillpotts’ Folly and Fresh Air, published in 1899. This was followed by books such as West Country Songs by Mark Guy Pearse (1902), Footprints of Former Men in Far Cornwall by R.S. Hawker (1903), My Devon Year by Eden Phillpotts (1904), and The Piskey Purse: Tales and Legends of North Cornwall by Enys Tregarthen (1905). The 38 original drawings for My Devon Year had been exhibited in a solo exhibition at an art gallery in Exeter in November 1903.

He was more prolific, if not as well-known, as an illustrator of children’s books, in particular being associated with the publisher Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., of Paternoster Buildings, London, for whom he illustrated at least 13 books. The first book he illustrated, Tatters and Jennie’s Schooldays, published by the Wesleyan Methodist Sunday School Union  in 1890, was written by Lillie Pethybridge, the wife of William Pethybridge, presumably a relation although this is not clear.
Pethybridge also contributed to a range of story papers, periodicals and magazines, including Wells Gardner, Darton & Co.’s Chatterbox and the same firm’s annual Darton’s Leading Strings; The Girl’s Own Paper, The Badminton Magazine, The Argosy, The Ludgate Monthly, The Home Messenger, Pall Mall Magazine, Black and White, and The Temple Magazine.

In June 1905 Pethybridge was told that he had terminal cancer. He moved in with his brother Frank at “Ashleigh”, Tavistock, Devon, where he died on 3 September 1905, being buried three days later in St. Andrew’s churchyard, Stratton. He left an estate valued at £1,153. Tragically, his mother died the following year, and his father the year after that. His widow re-married in 1910, and died in 1977.


PUBLICATIONS

Books illustrated by J. Ley Pethybridge
Tatters and Jennie’s Schooldays by Lillie Pethybridge, Wesleyan Methodist Sunday School Union, 1890
In the Dragon’s Mouth by Mary MacLeod, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1896
The Union Jacks by (Anon.), Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1897
English Ann at School in Blumbaden by R. Ramsay, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1897
The Little General by (Anon), Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1898
Folly and Fresh Air by Eden Phillpotts, Hurst & Blackett, 1899 (re-issue)
Roy’s Sister, or “His Way and Hers” by M.B. Manwell, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1899
The Boys of Barminster by A.B. Simeon, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1899
Sunday Reading for the Young, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1901
West Country Songs by Mark Guy Pearse, Horace Marshall & Son, 1902
Footprints of Former Men in Far Cornwall by Rev. R. S. Hawker, John Lave & Walter Weighell, 1903
Mother Bunch: A Story for Boys and Girls by Stella Austin, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1903
Kenneth’s Children: A Story for Boys and Girls by Stella Austin, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1903
Other People: A Story of Modern Chivalry by Stella Austin, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1903
Uncle Philip: A Tale for Boys and Girls Chivalry by Stella Austin, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1903 (re-issue)
The Two Christophers by H. Elrington, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1903
Robin the Rebel by H. Louisa Bedford, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1903
My Devon Year by Eden Phillpotts, Methuen & Co., 1904
Cornish Ballads and Other Poems by R.S. Hawker, John Lane, 1904
Tom and the Enemy by Clive R. Fenn, S.W. Partridge, 1904
Sir Bevill by Arthur Christopher Thynne, John Lane, 1904
A Family Grievance by Raymond Jacberns, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1904
Brave Brothers, or Young Sons of Providence by E.M. Stooke, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1905
The Life and Letters of R.S. Hawker by C.E. Byles, John Lane, 1905
The Piskey Purse: Tales and Legends of North Cornwall by Enys Tregarthen, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1905
The Competitors: A Tale of Upton House School by Fred Whishaw, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1906
The Ring of Nature by G.G. Desmond, Methuen & Co., 1913
The Medland Boys and Schooldays at St. Benedict’s by A.L. Haydon, Sunday School Union, 1916  (re-issue)
One Hundred Pictures from Eden Phillpotts by L.H. Brewitt (ed.), Methuen & Co., 1919


Friday, September 22, 2017

Dez Skinn doc debuts on Youtube

A brief documentary about Dez Skinn has debuted on Youtube:


Produced by Maximilian Feurstein and Ted Dontchev of the Brighton Film School, the 11 1/2 minute doc. covers his career in comics.

Comic Cuts - 22 September 2017

The first phase of work on Fifty Forgotten Authors is almost at an end. Hopefully I'll have it finished in the next week or two. It's looking more likely that the book will be a monster, and not cheap to produce, even if it's almost all text with only a handful of illustrations. My original estimate was 175,000 words and I was hoping it would be less. Now I'm hoping it won't be more!

I don't see this book selling too many copies in print, but I'm hoping that it will do better as an ebook. But then we have the problem of putting a price on such a huge tome. So the plan is to break the book down into chunks of, say, 50–60,000 words so that there's a solid amount of reading material and I can charge £5.99 or something like that.

I have two essays on the go that I want to include in the first volume, and a couple of other pieces that are almost finished. Once I have those done I'll have a pool of 19 essays of various lengths that I can draw from and which I can juggle into an interesting volume of the right length. I can then crack on with the second batch of essays, releasing ebook versions as I go along, until I hit the fifty mark and put together the print version. This way I will at least have something new out this side of Christmas.

To bring you up to speed, the totaliser now stands at almost 60,000 words spread across 15 essays, one of which I need to make some adjustments to as I'm still trying to nail down the author's date of death.

This week I've been working on what I'm planning to use as the opening pair of essays in the book. One involves a lot of alcohol and the other a lot of prostitution, so you can imagine the fun I'm having and the kind of search history I'm building up with Google. And since everything is so integrated these days I can't wait to see what my Amazon recommendations are going to be next time I want to order a book and what Facebook thinks are my favourite subjects: booze, whores or boozy whores?

This is probably the only time I'm going to be able to say that I'm taking a break from trying to discover biographical details for the notorious night club owner Kate Hamilton, whose night-house entertained the young gentry during their trips to London. Kate Hamilton's was the place to visit, as long as you were planning to spend some serious money on champagne and cocktails (yes, cocktails in the 1850s); then you might wander off with one of the girls to a house of accommodation where you could rent rooms for the night.

Kate Hamilton gets a lot of mentions in books by Victorians and books about Victorians, but they all contain roughly the same information. What they don't have is any clue about Kate's background or what became of her after the 1860s. She just seems to disappear. Her clubs had front men who would take the fall if there was any police action, so I'm not finding much in official records. It's most frustrating.

Random scans. Something a bit naughty.

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Commando issues 5055-5058

Commando issues on sale 21 September 2017.

Brand new Commando issues 5055-5058 are here! Expect Wildcats, Catalinas, and Zeroes as our Commandos dodge Panzers in ruined villages in France, navigate hostile tropical islands, and trek the perilous Pyrenees, fighting for survival!

5055: Falsely Accused
May, 1940. The Third Reich invades France, unstoppable as they progressed over the unforgiving French soil. Forced to retreat to the coast, the British Expeditionary Force faced intense struggle from the invading Nazis. That’s when Private Bill Greaves’ unit was obliterated by an incoming Junkers, leaving him the sole survivor. Desperate to regroup, Bill’s worries are far from over when, seeking shelter, he finds more enemies in the form of two deserters looting a French Manor…
    Written and drawn by Jaume Forns, with cover art by David Alexander, the story and art merge perfectly, complimenting each other under Forns’ auteuristic control, while Alexander’s traditional art cover shows the claustrophobic intensity of the ruined French village.

Story: Jaume Forns
Art: Jaume Forns
Cover: David Alexander

5056: Dangerous Dawn
“Name – Laker.
Rank – Petty Officer.
Number – 178305. And that’s all I’m supposed to say.”
    When Petty Officer Gordon Laker is captured by a Japanese patrol boat, surrender is never an option – but neither is escape. Hell-bent on revenge for his sunken submarine crew, Laker isn’t ready to give up and if his Japanese captors think he’s going to a P.O.W. camp, then they don’t know their port from their starboard! No, Laker is ready to take that boat, sail for the nearest Allied port and get back to battle.
    With artwork by Gonzalez, whose minimal shading and refined attention to facial expression makes Lester’s rag-tag prisoners come alive. Complimenting is Lopez Espi’s 1960s cover, with a blood red sky and jagged waves thrashing against our brave hero.

Story: Lester
Art: Gonzalez
Cover: Lopez Espi
Originally Commando No 380 (January 1969) Reprinted No 1099 (February 1977)

5057: Jungle Heat
Patrolling the South Pacific in their Catalina, bickering R.A.A.F. pilots Dave Keating and Roger Smith’s plane crashes into the Papua New Guinea jungle, an island occupied by the Japanese. The survivors manage to radio for help – but it will be two days before reinforcements arrive. Until then, they must face tropical heat, poisonous wildlife, dehydration, booby-traps, Japanese patrols and each other…
    Manuel Benet’s interior and cover art is, as always, dynamic with crisp lines, distinct shading and memorable character design, adding to the roguish rivalry of Colin Watson’s leading duo.

Story: Colin Watson
Art: Manuel Benet
Cover: Manuel Benet

5058: Escape Line
A series of lifelines run by French Resistance men, “COBWEB” helped ferry downed aircrew back to Britain by crossing the Pyrenees into neutral Spain. Helping them is Marcel Dupont, a former French journalist recently released from captivity in Spain after being betrayed when escaping the Civil War. Now, leading a group of Allies across the perilous mountains, Marcel’s guide seems hauntingly familiar… Could he be the same man who led him to capture so many years ago?
    A twisting story that will keep you guessing, Alan Hemus’s Silver Age issue takes inspiration from classic westerns, with artwork from Garijo that really draws from the beauty and danger of the Pyrenees– and all wrapped up in an Ian Kennedy cover to boot!

Story: Alan Hemus
Art: Garijo
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No 2650 (March 1993)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 20 September 2017.

2000AD Prog 2049
Cover: Alex Ronald
Judge Dredd: War Buds by John Wagner (w) Dan Cornwall (a) Abigail Bulmer (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
The Alienist: Inhuman Natures by Gordon Rennie, Emma Beeby (w) Eoin Coveney (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
Greysuit: Foul Play by Pat Mills (w) John Higgins (a) Sally Hurst (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
Future Shocks: Alt-Life by Rory McConville (w) Jake Lynch (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Hope: ... For The Future by Guy Adams (w) Jimmy Broxton (a) (c) Simon Bowland (l)

Saturday, September 16, 2017

T W Holmes

T.W. HOLMES
by
Robert J. Kirkpatrick

T.W. Holmes was a prolific illustrator of boys’ story papers between the late 1890s and his death in 1929. He also illustrated a handful of books, with his speciality being transport. However, he should, perhaps, be best-remembered as a pioneering illustrator for the blind.

He was born in Newcastle in 1872, and christened Thomas William Holmes, the first of five children of William and Elizabeth Holmes. William, born in Yorkshire in 1848, had a varied career, including spells as a commercial traveller, auctioneer and grocer. His other children were Robert (born 1874), Alfred (1879), Harriet (1881), and Frederick (1883 – he also became an artist). In around 1881 the family moved to Leeds, where Holmes was educated at St. Mark’s School, Woodhouse. When he left, in 1887, he became an assistant in a Leeds chemist’s. However, his ambition was to become an artist – he had already shown an aptitude at St. mark’s – and he therefore left his job and enrolled as a full-time student at the Leeds School of Art. Within a year he had won a Silver Medal for Design in the annual competition run by the South Kensington School of Art, followed by a Bronze medal a year later. He subsequently obtained an Art Class teacher’s Certificate, and in 1889 he was taken on by the Leeds School of Art as a teacher of Elementary and Advanced Perspective.

Whilst working as a teacher, he began a second career as an illustrator. By 1893 he had given up teaching and was working in Leeds as a full-time artist, at 53 & 54 Prudential Buildings, Park Row (whilst living at 30 Norwood Terrace, Headingley). Most of his work was black and white line drawings for the cheap periodical press  –  amongst his earliest work were drawings and cartoons in the boys’ story paper Chums.

In 1894 he moved from Leeds to Shepperton, Middlesex. On 20 April 1897 he married Martha Alice Leggott (born in Bootle, Lancashire, in 1873, the daughter of William Leggott, an auctioneer) at St. Nicholas’s Church, Haxey, Lincolnshire (where she had been living with her family for many years). The couple subsequently lived at 14 Laleham Road, Shepperton (1901 census).

In January 1895 he drew the cover for the first number of The Boys’ Friend, published by Alfred Harmsworth, and he went on to illustrate numerous stories in that paper until 1922. He also worked on several other boys’ story papers published by Harmsworth (later the Amalgamated Press), including The Boys’ Herald, The Boys’ Realm, Cheer Boys Cheer, The Champion and The Union Jack, for which he illustrated many of the early Sexton Blake stories. He was also closely associated with the author Henry St. John, for whom he illustrated his “St. Basil” stories. He also supplied the covers for several issues of The Boys’ Friend Library.

Between 1904 and 1924 he provided illustrations for Chums, published by Cassell & Co., and he also supplied pictures for C. Arthur Pearson’s The Boys’ Leader, Big Budget and Scout, and for Andrew Melrose’s Young England.

In the meantime, after the outbreak of the First World War, Holmes had been asked to produce a war map for Progress, a Braille magazine published by the National Institute for the Blind. He immediately recognized an unfilled need, that of illustrations for blind readers. He taught himself to read Braille, and he also took a course in metal work and embossing at a West London Workshop. He was subsequently asked by the President of the National Institute, Sir Arthur Pearson, to take charge of the illustrations of the Institute’s Braille books.

Much of his work was on maps, plans and diagrams. Amongst the Braille books that Holmes illustrated were editions of The Outline of History by H.G. Wells; Science from an Easy Chair by Edwin Ray Lankester; The Story of the Heavens by Robert S. Ball; A History of Everyday Things in England by Marjorie Quennell; The Conquest of Civilisation by James Henry Breasyed; and English Gothic Architecture by Peter Ditchfield. He also illustrated a series of Swedish school books, on music, history, mechanics, optics, acoustics, magnetism and electricity. As an advocate of Esperanto, he became the honorary illustration editor of the international Esperanto Braille magazine Esperanta Ligilo, published in Stockholm by Harald Thilander, for whom Holmes also illustrated an Esperanto version of what had originally been published in Britain as A Picture Book for the Blind. For many years he was affectionately known as “The Blind Man’s Artist.” His last work was Flags of the Nations, which included diagrams of the flags of all the leading nations, with a brief outline of their history, and with the colours indicated by different arrangements of lines and dots.

In an article in The Beacon (a magazine published by the National Institute for the Blind) in August 1929, a friend described how engaging he was as a conversationalist, albeit with a “quiet, slow speech.” He went on to describe how Holmes once showed him “a pocket sketch book without a single margin free from some face or figure, or wall, or tree, snapped up as he passed by – and kept…..” He went on: “Needless to say, he is entranced by a map. He enters into a map’s spirit. When he was preparing a map to illustrate a Braille edition of Xenophon’s Anabasis, it was not enough for him to copy the printed plan; he himself had to take part in that eventful march of the Ten Thousand, and to know by heart the cities they visited and the deserts and mountains they crossed.”

The article also emphasized the innovative approach Holmes adopted to his work: “He has not merely used the embossed dot of all sizes and variations in grouping; he has brought into his experiments for creating a “Blind Picture gallery” the values of different surfaces, and by doing so has shown the relationship between touch and vision from a new aspect, almost bringing it into the same category as the relationship between taste and smell.”

Holmes also illustrated a handful of books for non-blind readers, the first of which appears to have been Railways, published by Blackie & Son in 1918, for which he supplied 16 colour plates. He went on to provide illustrations for Motor Wonders (T. Nelson & Sons, 1924), The Wonders of Speed (T.C. & E.C. Jackson, 1924 – re-issued by T. Nelson & Sons in 1936), and Mooring by Land, Sea and Air, written by G. Gibbard Jackson and published by T. Nelson & Sons in 1927. He also had illustrations in annuals such as The Boys’ Budget, The Lucky Boys’ Budget and The Boys’ Book of School Stories (all published by Blackie & Son). As far is known, the only novel he illustrated was a re-issue of G.A. Henty’s John Hawke’s Fortune: A Story of Monmouth’s Rebellion, published by Blackie & Son in 1925.

At the time of the 1911 census Holmes and his wife were living at Oxford Villas, Laleham Road, Shepperton. In 1928 his health began to decline, although he carried on working. He died in St. Pancras, London, on 8 September 1929, and was buried in the churchyard of St. Nicholas’s Church, Shepperton. His wife died, at 3 Commercial Road, Staines, on 8 April 1945, and was buried alongside him.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Comic Cuts - 15 September 2017

Another big essay out of the way as I trudge slowly towards our grand total of Fifty forgotten authors... currently I've written up thirteen, but lucky number thirteen has proven to be a really enjoyable one. Originally he appeared as part of another writer's essay but I thought he deserved his own piece this time around, and I'm pleased I made that decision as it meant I could dig deep into a series of court cases featuring fraud, bigamy and bankruptcy.

This was one I started the research for last week alongside the research for the original subject of the essay. By Saturday I had extensive notes for two essays, plus about 94 newspaper clippings relating to the guy I started writing up on Sunday. I have been pulling 10-11 hour shifts to complete the whole thing, which runs to about 10,200 words. The additional research done as I was writing up various sections means that I've ended up with 140 clippings, which now range from newspaper reports and census returns for various family members to a memorial certificate from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and a couple of full-length books.

While the research is still fresh in my memory I'm planning to return to the first author I wrote about and weave her story around the new longer essay, reversing how it was written originally. Should be fun – not most people's idea of fun, I suspect, even for the masochists who regularly read the columns of Bear Alley. And I'm planning to do this on a weekend I have all to myself, as Mel is away at a show. That said, I might binge watch the last half a dozen episodes of Dark Matter season three. What a shame they've cancelled it... I thought the show had really found its feet with the second and third seasons.

I've often said that the fun of writing this kind of essay is that you have no idea where the research will take you or what surprises you will turn up. I stumbled across one today while I was digging around into the Rapid Language College, which was a failed business set up by the author I have been writing about. They were widely advertised in newspapers back in 1905, but closed down shortly after their classes were launched in the autumn of that year.

As you can see from the advert on the right, they operated out of an address in Marylebone, London. As I was writing up some information about the college, I looked up Great Quebec Street to see where it is. And here's the thing that took me by surprise: Great Quebec Street was renamed Upper Montague Street... and I used to work in Upper Montague Street! Yes, it's the same Upper Montague Street where Look and Learn had their office.

Thirteen essays completed means I have about a quarter of the book finished. Of course, fifty is a target I've set for myself, but it sounds better than, say Thirty-Seven Forgotten Authors and ten better than Forty Forgotten Authors, so I suspect I'll stick to the target.

As I've spent most of the week looking at court cases involving a criminal author, today's random scans are examples of author's writing about crime. A bit obvious, I know, but sometimes an obvious choice will turn up some very nice images.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Releases from Rebellion Publishing for 12-13 September 2017.

2000AD Prog 2048
Cover: Luke Preece
Judge Dredd: War Buds by John Wagner (w) Dan Cornwall (a) Abigail Bulmer (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
The Alienist: Inhuman Natures by Gordon Rennie, Emma Beeby (w) Eoin Coveney (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
Greysuit: Foul Play by Pat Mills (w) John Higgins (a) Sally Hurst (c) Ellie De Ville (l)
Future Shocks: Terminal by Rory McConville (w) Tilen Javornik (a) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Hope: ... For The Future by Guy Adams (w) Jimmy Broxton (a) (c) Simon Bowland (l)

Brink by Dan Abnett & INJ Culbard
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08550-9, 12 September 2017, 98pp, £12.99 / $17.99.
IN THE LATE 21ST CENTURY THE REMAINS OF THE HUMAN RACE ARE CRAMMED INTO the Habitats: vast artificial space stations; hotbeds for crime and madness policed by private security firms. When a routine drug bust goes wrong, no-nonsense Investigator Bridget Kurtis finds herself in a life or death struggle with a new sect of cultists. But evidence begins to point to something far more sinister going on behind the scenes... The first series of the new atmospheric, sci-fi thriller from Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard.

Survival Geeks by Gordon Rennie, Emma Beeby & Neil Googe
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08554-7, 12 September 2017, 114pp, £12.99 / $17.99.
WHEN STUDENT SAM WAKES UP IN THE HOUSE OF A GROUP OF OBSESSIVE SCI-FI FANS, she becomes their reluctant new housemate after their home gets transformed into a piece of misfiring trans-dimensional technology! Now they can travel to places where no 2-up 2-down terraced house has gone before. Armed only with their wits (and Star Wars trivia) the group of misfits must survive in whatever horrifying dimension or alternate reality they find themselves in!
An affectionate parody of Sci-Fi and Fantasy tropes, this quirky comedy adventure features steampunks, Dark Lords, cuddly Lovecraftian horrors and the occasional dysfunctional lightsaber!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Francis E Hiley

FRANCIS E. HILEY
By
Robert J. Kirkpatrick

Like many illustrators of late 19th/early 20th century children’s books, Francis E. Hiley is now more or less forgotten. But in his time he was a prolific, accomplished and popular artist.

He was born on 12 February 1878, with his birth being registered at Barton Regis, Gloucestershire – he was christened Francis Ernest Hiley. His mother was Emma Jane, née Hancock, born in Bedminster, Bristol, in 1850. His father was Edward Ernest Hiley, born in Islington, London, in 1850. In the 1850s, the family moved to Westbury-on-Trym, Gloucestershire, where, in 1871, Edward was working as a commercial clerk, alongside his two brothers. Shortly after Francis’s birth the family moved to London, to 59 Windsor Road, Ealing, where Edward became the manager of a glass works. However, his health began to decline, and in around 1889 the family moved to Knapp Hill, Wells, Somerset  –  in the 1891 census, Edward was described as living on his own means, with a family of eight and two servants. In 1893 the family moved to Ebbor Cottage, Wookey Hole, Somerset, where they remained until 1919. In the 1911 census Edward was described as a retired looking-glass manufacturer. He died in Axbridge, Somerset, in 1927.

Francis was the second of seven children – his siblings were Edward Montague (born 1877, died of diphtheria in 1883), Florence Ernestine (born 1880), Harold Gladstone (1881), Eveline (1883), Mary Gladys (1885), and Wilfred Edward (1886). He only had a minimal education, firstly at a kindergarten, after which he was home-schooled by a governess and, more importantly, by his father. His main interest, apart from literature, was art, and in September 1891, aged just 13, he was awarded a certificate for freehand drawing and perspective as an external candidate by the Bath School of Science and Art. He regularly appeared thereafter in local newspapers as having been awarded further certificates, for example at the Kensington Government School of Science and Art, Berkeley Square, Bristol, in 1894; and at the Government School of Science and Art, Weston-super-Mare, in 1895, 1896, 1897 and 1898, where he had been lucky enough to get a post as a pupil-teacher on a salary of £15 a year and free tuition.  He also brought in a further £15 a year teaching drawing in a couple of private schools. In 1898 he obtained a small scholarship to the Bristol Academy of Art, and in 1899 he was awarded a three year scholarship, worth £60 a year, to the Royal College of Art.

He was clearly skilled in several disciplines, as shown by a report in the Wells Journal in March 1897:
At the annual meeting of the subscribers and friends of the School of Science and Art, Weston-super-Mare, prizes were distributed to successful students. In this list Mr Francis E. Hiley, of Wookey Hole, held a distinguished position, being awarded a bronze medal for landscape paining; prize for architectural drawing; pass (excellent) in anatomy, architecture, and advanced freehand; 1st class in perspective, advanced model, advanced light and shade, decorative paining and design, advanced stage; 2nd class in still life painting and advanced principles of ornament; Art-class teacher’s certificate.
After qualifying as an Associate of the Royal College of Art Hiley worked for a year as an assistant in the studio of Gerald Moire, the Professor of Painting at the Royal Academy Schools. He then joined the London County Council, as a part-time drawing teacher in central London schools, and later at the Putney School of Art. Whilst he had a desire to work in stained glass, which he had studied at the Royal Academy, he found the field to be too competitive, and he turned to black and white illustrations which, though poorly-paid, provided a regular source of income. In a brief unpublished autobiography covering his early years he described “spending a dreary time haunting the offices of publishers and magazines.”

For a while, up until his marriage, Hiley shared a flat in Redcliffe Street, Chelsea, with Luke Thompson Taylor, who was becoming well-known as an etcher and went on to become a member of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers. On 25 July 1907, at the Wesleyan Church, Edmonton, London, he married May Winifred Hiley (the daughter of G. Gould Hiley, Francis’s father’s cousin), born in Karachi, India, in 1883. They moved into a flat at 20 Cyril Mansions, Prince of Wales Road, Battersea, where they had their first child, Stephen Gould Hiley, born on 12 November 1911. In 1913 the family moved to 14 Fairfax Road, Bedford Park, London, and Hiley was able to abandon teaching in order to work full-time as an illustrator.

On 17 July 1916 Hiley enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps, being promoted to Corporal in November 1917, and in April 1918 being transferred to the Royal Air Force, with the rank of Sergeant. He worked principally as a draughtsman at Farnborough. Ten months later, he was transferred to the RAF Reserve, and he was discharged from service on 30 April 1920.

He returned to illustration, initially drawing men’s fashion plates, and also took on a little teaching. In 1923 he began contributing to The Strand Magazine, and was subsequently taken on by an artists’ agent.

At some point after the war, the family moved to Brentford, Middlesex, where their second son, Oliver Gould Hiley, was born on 10 June 1920. They subsequenrly moved to Stag Lane, Chorley Wood, Hertfordshire, where they stayed for at least 15 years. They later moved to Westbury-on-Trym. During the Second World War, Hiley worked as a draughtsman at the Bristol Aeroplane Company.

May Winifred Hiley died on 7 November 1958 at an address in Redhill, although her home address was given as Chesham Bois, Buckinghamshire. Francis Hiley spent his later years in Hampstead and then Redhill, with his last address being White Lodge, Linkfield Lane. He died, after a short illness, at the East Surrey Hospital, Redhill, on 20 December 1965, leaving an estate valued at £13,258. He was cremated at the Sussex and Surrey Crematorium, Worth, Sussex, three days later.

As an illustrator of children’s books he was most associated with the publishers Jarrold & Sons, Blackie & Son, Ward, Lock & Co. and the Religious Tract Society. Amongst the authors whose books he illustrated were John Mackie, Bessie Marchant, R.A.H. Goodyear, St. John Pearce, Evelyn Smith and Angela Brazil. His work also occasionally appeared in magazines and newspapers, most notably in The Strand Magazine for which he provided a total of 53 illustrations for stories by Arthur Conan Doyle between 1925 and 1930. He also contributed a few illustrations to Pearson’s Magazine, The Wide World, The Windsor Magazine and The Red Magazine. He signed his work Francis E. Hiley, F.E. Hiley or simply F.E.H.

PUBLICATIONS

Books Illustrated
Little Miss, or Leslie Underwood’s Fortune by M.B. Manwell (Religious Tract Society), 1910 (re-issue)
Miss Determination by Frances Toft (Religious Tract Society), 1910
The Brig Jane Mary by Francis Marlowe (Jarrold & Sons), 1911
The Treasure Hunters by John Mackie (Jarrold & Sons), 1911
The Dream of Gerontius by John Henry Newman (Gay & Hancock), 1911
Scholars and Scouts by Ernest Protheroe (Jarrold & Sons), 1912
The Birds’ Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggin (Gay & Hancock), 1912
Crookside Lads by A.M. Coker (Religious Tract Society), 1912 (re-issue)
Basil Verely by Archibald Ingram (George Allen & Co.), 1912
The Green Door by Mary Wilkins (Gay & Hancock), 1912
Benjamin Franklin by William M. Thayer (Hodder & Stoughton), 1912
An Uphill Game by Harry Huntingdon (Frederick Warne & Co.), 1913
The Madcap of the Family by M.E. Fraser (Religious Tract Society), 1913
Holiday Quests by Mrs Barton (Religious Tract Society), 1913
The Taming of Tarm by E, Hobart-Hampden (Nisbet & Co.), 1914
The Time of Their Lives by C.A. Palmer (Blackie Son), 1916
The Boy Hero of the Air by Walter A. Briscoe (Oxford University Press), 1921
The Great Antarctic by John Mackie (Jarrold & Sons), 1923
The Perils of Peterkin by Robert Leighton (Jarrold & Sons), 1923
The Little Betty Wilkinson by Evelyn Smith (Blackie & Son), 1923
Pleasure Island by Gurney Slade (Ward, Lock & Co.) 1924
The Sunken Million by D.H. Parry (Frederick Warne & Co.), 1926
Terry’s Best Term by Evelyn Smith (Blackie & Son), 1926
Molly in the West by Bessie Marchant (Blackie & Son), 1927
Winkles, Schoolboy Detective by Rowland Walker (Ward, Lock & Co.), 1927
Lucie’s Luck by Bessie Marchant (Blackie & Son), 1928
Marcus the Briton by Marion Mattingly (Oxford University Press), 1928
Hilda Holds on by Bessie Marchant (Blackie & Son), 1929
The Forbidden Island by E.E. Cowper (Blackie & Son), 1929
Too Big for the Fifth by R.A.H. Goodyear (Ward, Lock & Co.), 1929
That Boy Buckle by St. John Pearce (Ward, Lock & Co.), 1929
On the Fringe of the Cyclone by Courtenay Hayes (Frederick Warne & Co.), 1930
Tringle of Harlech by R.A.H. Goodyear (Ward, Lock & Co.), 1930
Laurel the Leader by Bessie Marchant (Blackie & Son), 1930
Hatherley’s First Fifteen by M.R. Clark (Whitcombe & Tombes), 1930
Two on Their Own by Bessie Marchant (Blackie & Son), 1931
Jane Fills the Breach by Bessie Marchant (Blackie & Son), 1932
Schools in Turmoil by St. John Pearce (Ward, Lock & Co.) 1933
Buckle of Barchester by St. John Pearce (Ward, Lock & Co.), 1934
Anna of the Tenderford by Bessie Marchant (Blackie & Son), 1935
The School at the Turrets by Angela Brazil (Blackie & Son), 1935
The School’s Airmen by R.A.H. Goodyear (Ward, Lock & Co.), 1936
An Exciting Term by Angela Brazil (Blackie & Son), 1936
Felicity’s Fortune by Bessie Marchant (Blackie & Son), 1936
The Broom and heather Boys by R.A.H. Goodyear (Ward, Lock & Co.), 1937
Congo Chains by Major Charles Gilson (Frederick Warne & Co.), 1937
Jill’s Jolliest School by Angela Brazil (Blackie & Son), 1937
Fenshaven Finds Its Feet by R.A.H. Goodyear (Ward, Lock & Co.), 1938
Ella of the Islands by Violet M. Methley (Blackie & Son), 1938
The School on the Cliff by Angela Brazil (Blackie & Son), 1938

Annuals, story collections etc.
A Stirring Book for Boys
Blackie’s Girls’ Annual
The Big Budget for Girls
Warne’s First Reading and Nursery Rhyme Book
The Wonder Book of the Empire
The Wonder Book of Aircraft
True Tales of Adventure
The Children’s Companion

Dates uncertain/not known
Ivanhoe by Walter Scott (T. Nelson & Sons) (re-issue)
Kenilworth by Sir Walter Scott, T. Nelson & Sons (re-issue)
The Talisman by Walter Scott T. Nelson & Sons (re-issue)
Jo’s Boys by Louisa M. Alcott, Blackie & Son, re-issue)
Wilful Madge Marshal by Francis Sweyn, Religious Tract Society (re-issue)
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss, F. Warne & Co., (re-issue)
The King’s Pardon by Robert Overton,Jarrold & Sons
Clive of Clair College by J. Harwood Panting, F. Warne & Co. (re-issue)
Annie Carr: A Tale of Both Hemispheres by (Anon.), Religious Tract Society (re-issue)
A Wilful Ward by Ruth Lamb, Religious Tract Society (re-issue)
Her Own Way by Eglanton Thorne, Religious Tract Society (re-issue)
Two Secrets and A Man of His word by Hesba Stretton, Religious Tract Society (re-issue)
Alison’s Ambition by Mary Hampden, Religious Tract Society (re-issue)
The captain of the Eleven by Shirley K. Plant, Religious Tract Society (re-issue)
The Coral Island by R.M. Ballantyne, F. Warne & Co. (re-issue)
Darcy the Young Acrobat by Helen J. Eastwood, Religious Tract Society (re-issue)

Illustrations for Arthur Conan Doyle stories in The Strand Magazine
The Land of Mist 1925-26 (31 illus.)
When the World Screamed 1928 (7 illus.)
The Disintegration Machine 1929 (3 illus.)
The Death Voyage 1929 (7 illus.)
The End of Devil Hawker 1930 (5 illus.)

(*With thanks to Clare Hiley)

Friday, September 08, 2017

Comic Cuts - 8 September 2017

I've had another good week of work on the Fifty Forgotten Authors book, although the totalizer won't be showing much activity this week. Having spent ages working on one long piece, I began tackling a couple of smaller subjects with renewed vigour and have turned up loads of new information: a couple of previously unknown books by one author, the birth name of another (previously unknown even in family circles), details of another author's later career outside of writing which, up until now, I only had the most sketchy details.

I love this kind of detective work and it's great to have something I can get my teeth into. I'm trying to nail each essay down before I move onto another, but that's not always possible, although some are waiting on a single line of information before I sign off on them. At the moment I've got twelve finished and five others on the go... two where I'm waiting on information, two where I've done the research and just need to write it up and one where I've just started gathering information.

After discussing how poorly I did at a boot fair over the bank holiday a couple of week's ago, I've signed myself up for the local Sale Trail, which takes place at the end of the month. I've done one of these before – way back in April 2015 – and it wasn't as great as I'd hoped. That time we had a couple of tables outside a local hall, which meant transporting all the boxes of books there and bringing 85% of them back, all for the princely sum of £35.

This time, the plan is to hold the sale in our own garden. We've signed up for a mention on the Sale Trail Map and hopefully we'll get plenty of passing trade from people heading to the Co-Op. It's one of those situations where you can't predict what will happen. We'll just have to try it and see.

Will I make enough to pay off the cost of the folding table I bought? I'm still £17.50 shy of what it cost me, so that's my target. Exciting, eh?

Random scans today are pairs of books, for no reason other than that's just the way it happened. The first two are from Curtis Warren, next up Big Ben, thirdly Digit Books – the same book, in fact – and finally two from Black Swan.


Thursday, September 07, 2017

Commando issues 5051-5054

Commando issues released 7 September 2017.

Brand new Commando issues 5051-5054 are out today! Parachute into Nazi territory with our Commando spies, pilots, gunners, and drivers, as we tackle Resistance factions on the Channel Islands, superstitious aircrew, the best and worst fathers, and aerial acrobatics guaranteed to save your life!

5051: Lucky or Jinxed
A tale of enemies turned friends, as only George Low could tell it, Ned Jenkins is a Lancaster tail-gunner who doesn’t know if he’s lucky to have survived so many close scrapes, or jinxed that his fellow crewmates were not so fortunate. Heading this rivalry is radio operator Walter Wright, who reads Ned’s shell-shocked nonchalance as callous arrogance and so begins their feud.
    Bryn Houghton’s cover shows Lancaster bombers mid raid as searchlights scour the night sky with a cool colour palette, creating a mystical allure which ties into the issue’s superstitious theme. Accordingly, Rezzonico’s thin lines and added detail shows ‘Lucky or Jinxed?’ harken back to the Golden era of Commando illustrations.

Story: George Low
Art: Rezzonico
Cover: Bryn Houghton

5052: Steeds of Steel
Perfect for the Gold Collection, Sanfeliz’s cover is full of yellows, contrasting nicely against the suitably metallic title. Meanwhile, ‘Steeds of Steel’ is a great example of Biesla’s interior artwork, with deep shading and dark backgrounds, making the shadows of the desert stand out, adding a noir style, complimenting C G Walker’s story.
    Set in the Libyan desert, Martin Plummer and Neil Hamilton have joined their fathers’ regiments, ready to serve in WWII. Both fathers had fought at Meena River, where, ignoring sense, Plummer ordered Hamilton to charge against unbeatable odds, resulting in his death and tragic losses. Fearing court martial, Plummer then blamed Hamilton for the defeat. Now, amidst another battle, their sons continue this rivalry…

Story: C G Walker
Art: Bielsa
Cover: Sanfeliz
Originally Commando No 387 (1969) Reprinted No 1103 (1977)

5053: Fatherland
Iain McLaughlin’s story follows Lisa Fisher, formerly Fischer, a British spy tasked with infiltrating German intelligence on the Channel Islands. The title for this issue is perfect as it plays on the Nazi epithet for Germany during the Second World War, while also commenting on Lisa’s paternal rejection as she faces off against her fanatical Nazi father and brother.
    Wrapping this neat package is Ian Kennedy’s cover, which features soft purples and pinks, complementing our heroine as she holds a flare to the sky, like an Olympic torch, lighting the way for allied aircraft. Lisa’s femininity is never shied away from in the interior art either, depicted with the classical beauty of Virginia McKenna in Carve Her Name with Pride, her capability is never muddled with masculinity, depicting her as a proficient spy without sacrificing her gender.

Story: Iain McLaughlin
Art: Rodriguez & Morhain
Cover: Ian Kennedy

5054: Safety First
Set primarily during air battles over the Mediterranean, Ian Clark’s story follows amateur pilot Johnny Lees, who couldn’t wait to join the R.A.F. But, when Johnny realises that he’s not as prepared to fly as he thought, he is taken under the wing of Nat Rankin, who teaches Johnny how to survive at all costs…
    Manuel Benet’s cover sets the aerial action for this issue, framing the enemy aircraft with the cockpit doorway, as we look over the shoulders of the pilots at the firing enemy plane. Benet then maintains this attention to aircraft detail in his interior art, depicting Tiger Moths, Gladiators, Fiat CR-42s… and that’s just in the first ten pages!

Story: Ian Clark
Art: Manuel Benet
Cover: Manuel Benet
Originally Commando No 2639 (1993)