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The Breezy Farm ABC

By Blam [Edmund Blampied]

This is the second of two alphabet books that Edmund Blampied designed for Thomas Nelson and Sons.

Edwin Jack wrote to Blampied on 5th August 1919 after receiving the line drawings for The Jolly ABC:


I should be very much obliged if you would plan out a FARM ALPHABET on similar lines. I do not know of any existing rhymes for a farm alphabet, I mean any good old-fashioned rhymes, but there is no reason why the book should not be approached purely from the artist's point of view. If you could rough out a good series of pictures we could have the jingles written for them. You might, in any case, consider the possibility of this scheme.

Blampied must have provided some designs because Edwin Jack wrote to him on 4th September 1919:


I have now returned from holiday and find your rough out for the Farm ABC? on my desk. I am delighted with it and it will give us pleasure to commission this book from you on the same terms at The Jolly ABC.

Blampied had been released from service with the Royal Jersey Militia and had returned to live in London in April 1919. The same terms was a fee of £65 for book covers, two enpapers and 16 pages of drawings for the letters of the alphabet. In terms of purchasing power parity this fee is equivalent to just under £3,000 in 2019, or in terms of labour value it is equivalent to £10,500.

Image of illustration

Illustration from the book (click to enlarge)


Blampied seems to have been very busy when he returned to London as he hadn't finished the designs for both The Jolly ABC or The Farm ABC, which was the working title for The Breezy Farm ABC, as Edwin Jack wrote to him on 24th February 1920:

I am getting anxious about the coloured up proofs of The Jolly ABC. When can you send these on? I should very much like too to have the drawings of The Farm ABC at your earliest convenience. Kindly let me hear from you.

Jack acknoweldged the designs for The Jolly ABC on 5th March 1920 and the designs for The Breezy Farm ABC four days later. Jack wrote: I think it will make a delightful book.

Rather than publish two alphabet books in the same year I think that The Jolly ABC was published in 1920 and The Breezy Farm ABC was published in 1921. A price list dated 1926 indicates that they cost 2 shillings and 6 pence each.


Dating editions. There seem to have been two versions of this book, printed at different times. The first versions were probably published from 1921 onwards: a version printed on paper lined with linen with printed endpapers and 16 pages of letters (seen in the British Library, which has an accession date of 24 March 1921); a version printed in thick paper with endpapers and 16 pages of letters (seen in the British Library, which has an accession date of 23 June 1921). There may have been a board version printed in 1921, but it has not been confirmed. The book was re-issued in the 1930s in two versions: a version with card covers, printed endpapers, and 16 pages of letters printed on thick paper (my copy of this version has a gift inscription dated 1941); and the heavy board version with no endpapers and 14 pages of heavy boards (my copy of this version is stamped 'FILE COPY' and is dated 1934 in pencil.)




●  First edition

Bibliography code: NEL-21.1i

Publisher: Thomas Nelson and Sons

Series: none

Year: [1920]

Format: 4to

Pages: 16 pp

Binding: thin card covers, letters printed thick paper lined with linen; OR card covers lined with linen, letters printed on paper lined with linen

Size: 282 x 216 mm

Cover signed: no

Internal illustrations: decorated endpapers signed Blam and 16 pages of illustrated letters of the alphabet, 6 full page, 10 pages with two letters to a page, all printed on thick paper lined with linen

Source of illustration: original

Price: 2 shillings 6 pence in 1926 according to a trade order list of books

Printing history: not stated

Printed by: Printed in Great Britain by Thomas Nelson and Sons, Ltd.

Notes: This is the first edition: a sewn book printed on paper reinforced with linen.

Image of dust jacket

Cover (click to enlarge)




Image of cover

Cover (click to enlarge)



●  Second edition

Bibliography code: NEL-21.1ii

Publisher: Thomas Nelson and Sons

Series: none

Year: [193?]

Format: 4to

Pages: 16 pp

Binding: printed thick boards, backed with white cloth with the title, a small image of two bees and the publisher in black on the spine; illustrated rear boards

Dust jacket: not seen, but probably had one

Size: 289 x 220 mm

Cover signed: no

Internal illustrations: letters printed inside covers, 14 boards of illustrated letters of the alphabet (6 full page, 10 pages with two letters to a page)

Source of illustration: original

Price: unknown

Printing history: not stated

Printed by: Printed in Great Britain by Thomas Nelson and Sons, Ltd.

Notes: This is the second edition: a bound book printed on boards backed with cream cloth.


Image of illustration

Illustration from the book (click to enlarge)




The Breezy Farm ABC: first edition with endpapers and 16 pages of letters.


Image of coverImage of endpaperImage of letters A and B


Image of letters C and DImage of letters efImage of letters G and H


Image of letter IImage of letter JImage of letters K and L


Image of letters M and NImage of letters O and PImage of letter Q


Image of letters R and SImage of letter TImage of letters U and V


Image of letter WImage of letters X and YImage of letter Z


Image of rear endpaperImage of rear cover