The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

June 4, 2013

June 4, 1879

Mabel Lucie Attwell (June 4, 1879 to November 5, 1964) was a British illustrator of children's books, a very popular illustrator. She seems never to have been out of work.  Here is an interesting insight into social history, from a review in The Atheneum of December 5, 1908

Mr. Raymond Jacberns in A Boy and a Secret .... has hit upon an unusual mystery [wherein]  the heir apparent to a European throne should lie concealed...[but] should also be ready to disclose his individuality here and there....The most lovable character in the book,....is Shanks the dog. We observe the modern note of deference to children, and of ascribing importance to their views of things in general.... The illustrations are by Mabel L. Attwell.

Soon Attwell would be illustrating the children's book written by Queen Marie, consort of King Ferdinand of Roumania. That title is Peeping Pansy, (1919) and the Queen was so pleased she invited Attwell to visit the family castle in Bucharest. 


Mabel Attwell  married the artist Harold Earnshaw in 1908. We quote from a biography of Attwell:

During Attwell’s career, she designed advertisements, posters, calendars, figurines and wall plaques. During the First World War, thousands of her colored postcards were sent to cheer up the troops in the trenches. One of her most famous drawings, ‘Diddums’, was made into a doll, a typically Attwell styled boy doll which was to be found in nurseries around the world. In 1937 and 1938, Princess Margaret commissioned her to do her personal Christmas card. ..... In 1943, she started a comic strip in the London Opinion called “Wot a Life”. Sets of Mabel Lucie Attwell China were used in the Royal Nursery of Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, and later Prince Charles....



This is from the illustrations Mabel Attwell did in 1908 for an edition of Alice. It reminds one of Engelbreit. Her children became more rotund as she herself became a mother.





Her husband died in 1937. 
In 1945 Attwell moved to Cornwall to live with her son Peter. She died at home in 1964.

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