Wednesday, 18 May 2011

A Treat from the Oxfam Shop

I had to pop into Farnham the day before yesterday and as I was passing one of the two Oxfam shops, I couldn't help but notice a very quaint and attractively small dollshouse in the window.  I'd say it was from the 50s - it had cute metal windows that looked like leaded lights, a bright red roof and was painted in a really charming, naive way, in a sort of Tyrolean style.  It looked like something a vintage Heidi would live in.

I can't show you a photo! 

I managed to park nearby and hopped, skipped and jumped along to said Oxfam shop to look at the price. You could see the price tag from the window.  It was tantalisingly reasonable, so I walked in ready to seize the treasure. 

And then I saw the 'SOLD' sign on the back...


So I crossed the road and went into the dedicated books and music Oxfam instead, to have a browse amongst the shelves of vintage books.  In amongst them was one that jumped out at me
as a consolation prize...

It is in near perfect condition, just like my Dad who was born the year it was published (well, his knees do cause him a bit of grief).

Edited by Harry Golding, its illustrators include Susan Beatrice Pearse and Grace Jones (whose work I am so far unaware of) and Margaret Tarrant.  It is jammed with charming pictures, and the stories I've read so far have been sweet.

I love the whole composition of this one...

I love the startled look on the elephant's face and the little Bohemian girl in the headscarf in this one...

I think this is by Anne Anderson

Now there's an interesting idea, a pretty little boat with a Viking-style prow and a patchwork sail! 

Another sweet boat!

This Red Riding Hood is passing through the most Art Deco of forests...

Love the expressive face on this little chap...

And the dress on this princess, if not her petulant-looking face...

Some of the stories are illustrated with silhouettes.  Very clever to portray so much just by this means.

Whilst the writer of each story is named both in the contents and at the end of their story, no credit is given to any of the illustrators anywhere in the book! It was only by trawling the internet that I was able to find out the names of three of them.  Yet the illustrations are so much part of the enduring appeal of these books - what a shame the talented illustrators may have felt that their work was valued less than that of the writers...

{Later:  Just having another read, this time with specs on.  My goodness - I didn't realise how much I need those glasses these days - of course there are some signatures on some of the illustrations, so not completely uncredited!}


  1. What a fab find those illustrations are lovely.

  2. Oh what a treasure indeed! Such a shame the illustrators weren't credited ~ they are truly amazing! A wonderful consolation prize! Love Brenda

  3. Wow - a lovely find - what beautiful illustrations! Enjoy! Abby x

  4. Aw - the sea babies cradle is just lovely and so cute! Great find!

  5. What a delightful book. We get many disappointed customers in the Chaity shop who come back for something they've seen in the window while we were shut, only to find it sold ! We tell them they can always pop a note throuh the door & we will hold the item for them.

  6. Wonderful illustrations. My favourite is the two children in the boat with the duck's head.

    An excellent buy!

  7. What a shame the dollshouse was sold but LUCKY LUCKY you to have found that book. I just love those illustrations - especially the art deco Red Riding Hood, the flapper fairy and the sea babies' cradle. Beautiful. I love vintage children's book and have a big fondness for the 20s and 30s.

    I've just found your blog and am your latest follower, being a big fan of charity shopping myself!

    Lakota x