Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Childhood Treasures!

by Anna Campbell

2014 is going to be a year of many changes for me, not least the fact that I'm putting the family home on the market and moving to something much smaller and much more central.

Please take note of those two words 'family home.' That means family junk reaching right back into childhood for my brother and I. So downsizing is a mammoth job.

So far I've tackled a lot of the easy stuff - books, papers, sheet music, CDs. Some of it in fact, has been really pleasurable to see again, especially the childhood books. This month on my website in My Favorite Things, I talk about some books from the 1930s that my mother won as academic prizes. Check them out!

Today, I'm talking about a real treasure that brought back so many memories. THE GIFT BOOK OF NURSERY RHYMES was my baby brother's book (his name is neatly inscribed inside in my father's lovely handwriting) but I placed dibs on it pretty much straight away. You can't see it in the picture above, but I wrote my name all over the cover - I was a possessive young wench!

The minute I opened this book I remembered my childhood fascination with the beautiful historical costumes in the illustrations. I really think this book may have in the end resulted in me writing historical romance!

The illustrations are the work of two English twin sisters, Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone, who were active in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s until Anne was tragically killed in a fire. You can read about their amazing partnership here:

So I thought today, I'd share some of these beautiful illustrations with you. I think the costumes are just exquisite!

So did you have any books illustrated by the Grahame Johnstone sisters? Perhaps even this one? What was your favorite childhood book?


Kate Walker said...

Those illustrations are so beautiful - it's no wonder you wanted to get your hands on them. I'm sure you appreciated them much more than your baby brother ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

Kate, I did! But it still made me smile when I saw my infant scrawl proclaiming ownership all over the cover!

flip said...

I didn't have any books illustrated by them. I would love the costumes. Even as a kid, I loved historical costumes. I had so many favorite books. I really loved the illustrations done Eloise Wilkins. I loved the Golden Book version of Hansel and Gretel.

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, that brought back memories, Flip. I look up Eloise and immediate recognized the style as familiar from a lot of my childhood books! Yeah, I've always been a sucker for a long dress!

dstoutholcomb said...

how wonderful--I'm not sure if I have any of their work. probably not--my books weren't as good quality as that one.

Anna Campbell said...

DS, this one really is a treasure!

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks for letting me share my trip down memory lane with you all. See you next month!