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Hush-a-bye Baby

This book reproduced on the cover and in full within, over two pages, a flat-colour drawing that Edwin Jack had suggested. Jack had written to Blampied on 13th December 1918:

Will you kindly let us know whether you have at any time done any drawings in flat colours for children’s books? If you have we should be much obliged if you would let us see some examples of your work in this style. What we are looking for, we may say, are drawings of a fairly bold style for large children’s picture books of the most juvenile kind. . . We think that we ought to be able to get a lively result in colour from 4 printings, at most we should not care to run beyond 5. . . It is most important that the drawings should be very bright in colour.

To print these drawings the black outlines on white paper had to be passed through a printing press each time a new colour was added, to create flat blocks of colour. Jack believed that these bold and bright illustrations were liked by very young children.

Blampied submitted a drawing but Edwin Jack was not impressed and wrote on 10th January 1919:

The example you were good enough to send us of flat colour work is very striking but it is, of course, much too bizarre for a book for little children. Something much more natural would be necessary. . . perhaps a good subject might be a baby’s handicap; children at different ages from six downwards, say running a race with perhaps the youngest of all in front led in leading strings by nurse or mother. If a really jolly picture could be made of this we might run it across two pages. . . The colours we would use would be red, blue, yellow and say green and a black. Five printings in all. We are a little doubtful whether you can give use quite the natural touch we want and should like to feel free to decline the subject if sketch does not please us.

At this time Blampied was working on the drawings for John's Visit to the Farm so there was some delay, but Jack wrote to Blampied on 13th February 1919:

I must write to you personally to say how much delighted I am with your drawing of the children’s race. It is one of the most delightful children’s drawings I have seen for a long time – so breezy and sunny. I shall want several more of these drawings from you.

The double page drawing is reproduced below. The book contains four other colour illustrations plus line illustrations around very short stories and verses.

First edition

Bibliography code: NEL-21.2

Publisher: Thomas Nelson and Sons

Series: not named, but same as Blam's Book of Fun

Year: [1921]

Format: 8vo

Pages: 32

Binding: printed boards backed with white cloth, stapled, plain rear boards

Size: 285 x 227 mm

Cover: by Blampied, not signed

Internal illustrations: between pages 8-9, double page flat colour drawing of children's race with a nurse (half on cover) that had appeared in Baby's Annual printed on one side of glossy card; pages 17 and 19 line illustrations from Two Little Scamps and a Puppy; pages 27 and 28, line illustrations from Terry and Starshine

Source of illustration: Baby's Annual, Two Little Scamps and a Puppy, Terry and Starshine

Price: unknown, perhaps 2 shillings 6 pence

Printing history: not stated

Printed by: Printed in Great Britain at the Press of the Publishers

Notes: On the title page the book was called Hush-a-bye, Baby

Image of cover

Dust jacket (click to enlarge)

Image of double page illustration

Double page illustration between pages 8-9 in Hush-a-bye Baby (click to enlarge)