Saturday, 24 December 2011

"Jack and the Beanstalk", Written by Walter De La Mare and illustrated by William and Brenda Stobbs (Hulton Press Ltd, London 1951)

This little book is just full of beautiful illustrations (fifty in all). Fantastic compositions, action, characters and detail. Each picture is a work of art in its own right. William Stobbs was an artist born not too far from here, in South Shields, Newcastle in 1914. Here's a biography on him borrowed from this site:
William Stobbs was born in South Shields in 1914. He graduated from Durham
School of Art in 1938 and a year later signed on as a draughtsman in the Rolls
Royce firm, where he was involved in the development of Merlin engines. After
World War II he worked briefly for Alvis before becoming head of the Design
Department at the London School of Printing and Graphic Arts in 1950. In 1958,
he became principal of Maidstone College of Art and remained in the post until
Stobbs began working as an illustrator in the 1940s, and his detailed and
well-researched line drawings soon made him particularly popular with writers of
historical fiction such as Henry Treece and Ronald Syme. In 1959 Stobbs won the
Kate Greenaway Medal for two titles with very different styles of illustration -
vibrant colour illustrations for Chekhov's 'Kashtanka' and black-and-white line
drawings with brown wash for Ruth Manning- Sanders' 'A Bundle of Ballads'.
During the 1960s and 1970s, as colour printing techniques began to improved,
Stobbs began to use colour more and more in his illustrations. In later works,
he also began to experiment with textiles and collage.
'Gregory's Dog' and 'Gregory's Garden' (both 1984), devised for his young
son, experimented with colour on a linen, textured background. More successful
though was his version of 'A Frog He Would A-Wooing Go' (1987) in which Mr Frog,
dressed in jeans and running shoes, is comprehensively outsmarted in his
attempts to win Missie Mousey's hand in marriage. This was one of around 20
retellings by Stobbs of traditional stories, and he also wrote a number of his
own. During his career as a whole, Stobbs illustrated over 100 books for
William Stobbs died in Hawkhurst, Kent, on 6 April 2000

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