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Finally,  a charming 1922 Shepard drawing which could be so many of our heroines – and readers: Kitchen Essays was first published in 1922, maybe she is reading that wonderful book which consists of little essays on many different subjects including ‘For the Too Fat’, ‘For the Two Thin’, ‘Tray Food’ and ‘Kitchen Supper’. A few of the essays are beautifully read here by Helen Garlick (free of charge, on the excellent website Talking of Food). Not so sure about mashed potato and sardines with whipped cream and watercress although it would indeed be ‘nourishing and flesh-making'; as would soup with tapioca with cream poured in. ‘Perhaps the most fattening of all savouries is a marrow bone on toast but is probably more popular with men than with women.’ Goodness me.

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Shepard also  illustrated the 1931 edition of The Wind in the Willows, originally published in 1908, and it is now the best-known.

 

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E H Shepard was born in 1879 (the same year as E M Forster, which is a not totally irrelevant thing to point out). ‘In 1915 he applied for a commission in the Royal Artillery and was in the battles of the Somme, Arras, and Ypres, and ended the war serving in Italy as Major Shepard MC. He managed to do a surprising amount of work during that period but suffered a blow when his beloved elder brother was killed. In 1921 he was invited to become a member of the staff of Punch, which meant that he had to produce at least one drawing a week but provided him with the blessing of a regular income'(Oxford Dictionary of National Biography). Shepard stayed at Punch until 1953. He also accepted a huge amount of other work and during the early 1920s did the drawings for When We Were Very Young, Winnie the PoohNow We Are Six and The House at Pooh Corner. The ODNB also tells us that  ‘Shepard was fairly tall with penetrating, light blue eyes. His personality was warm and friendly and was allied to a shrewd mind and an immense capacity for work. “A man for all men” was how fellow Punch cartoonist Leslie Illingworth described him [that was one of the most Forsterian things about him]. The enormous popularity of Winnie the Pooh, which grew through the years, meant that towards the end of Shepard’s very long life he was constantly involved with new projects concerned with the A A Milne books, and particularly with coloured editions.’ Here is the link to the ODNB. As ever, it is easily accessed by typing in your 14 digit library card number.

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EH Shepard’s 1928 ink drawing of Winnie the Pooh playing Poohsticks with Piglet and Christopher Robin (it features in Chapter 6 of The House At Pooh Corner) sold three years ago at auction for more than £300,00o. So we feel very fortunate that the Shepard Estate allowed us to use the Greenery Street cover free of charge. Although, admittedly, Ian and Felicity in Greenery Street are not (yet) ‘iconic’.

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There is a new exhibition at the V & A devoted to Winnie the Pooh and E H Shepard’s illustrations, so this week the Post is devoted to the latter. We reproduce (and give as a postcard with every copy of the book) the beautiful E H Shepard watercolour which he painted for the original jacket of Greenery Street by Denis Mackail. It’s about a young couple’s first year of married life in a small house in Chelsea and is one of our most beloved books: the perfect present for a young couple, a Londoner, or anyone interested in 1920s social history. Or a really good read. PG Wodehouse called it ‘so good that it makes one feel that it’s the only possible way of writing a book, to take an ordinary couple and just tell the reader all about them.’

1920 portrait of Anne Finlay by Dorothy Johnstone

Very very ironically Anne Finlay is best known at the moment because of a painting of her: it is by Dorothy Johnstone and was used on the poster for the recent Modern Scottish Women Exhibition in Edinburgh. This portrait is now back at AberdeenArt Gallery. There is a letter from Anne Finlay in the Royal Academy archive which reveals that she lived at 155 Sheen Road. Will any kind Persephone reader living nearby please go past some time soon and pay homage to Anne.

Finlay, Anne, 1898-1963; Carole

Carole by Anne Finlay is undated, it’s at Orleans House Gallery in Richmond (Surrey) and was presented by the artist after the death of the painter Philip Connard, with whom she lived in Richmond.

Finlay, Anne, 1898-1963; The Skipping Rope

The Skipping Rope 1952 is at the Royal Scottish Academy of Art & Architecture. What a clever painting! Not a bit kitsch and with such life and wonderful colour. And there is the mother reading again. Anne Finlay is definitely one of our new very favourite painters.

Finlay, Anne, 1898-1963; A Woman's LifeWhy isn’t this painting better known? It says so much. Anne Finlay’s A Woman’s Life 1938, again at Leamington Spa. Apparently this is a ‘study’ (perhaps a chalk drawing?). Please will any Leamington Spa Persephone reader go and pay homage to it!

Finlay, Anne, 1898-1963; Ronnie at Bedtime

‘Country Cousin’ who writes the Forum found a marvellous painting to illustrate Enid Bagnold’s The Squire – it’s by Anne Finlay(1898-1963), of whom regretfully we had never heard. So she is the subject of the Post this week. Here are some details about her. This is Ronnie at Bedtime 1935, a painting full of fascinating detail; it’s at Leamington Spa Art Gallery. And here is the link to the Forum with the painting of The Baby.

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