Monday, 6 November 2017

Josephine Keeps House illustrated by Honor C. Appleton

Regular readers of my blog might remember me telling you about a recent purchase from Marchpane books in London. It’s a really nice copy of Josephine Keeps House by Mrs H. C. Cradock. 

Credited with being one of the most popular children’s writers between the wars Mrs Cradock, daughter of an Anglican Clergyman was born August Whiteford in 1863. She married Henry Cowper Cradock in 1893 and wrote under her married name. She died in 1941 having survived her husband by eight years. If you would like to know more about her, The British Library website is a very good place to start.  

Josephine Keeps House by Mrs H. C. Cradock. title page

The Illustrations are by Honor C. Appleton (1879 – 1951). Honor Appleton studied at the South Kensington Schools (which later became the Royal College of Art), Frank Caderon's School of Animal Painting and the Royal Academy Schools. At the end of her first year at the RA Schools, she published The Bad Mrs Ginger (1902). She became a professional illustrator eight years later with Blake's Songs of Innocence (1910). During the following three decades she illustrated over one hundred and fifty books. While the best known of her early illustrations were for the 'Josephine' series, she produced much other fine work. [The Illustrators The British Art of Illustration 1800- 1997: Chris Beetles Limited, London]

Josephine Keeps House by Mrs H. C. Cradock. Colour plate

There are eleven Josephine books in the series plus three compilations;

Josephine and her dolls 1916 Blackie
Josephine’s happy family 1917 Blackie
Josephine is busy Blackie 1918
The big book of Josephine (contains all three of the stories above) Blackie 1919
Josephine’s birthday Blackie 1920
Josephine, John and the puppy Blackie 1920
Josephine keeps school Blackie 1925
The bonny book of Josephine (contains all three of the above stories) Blackie 1926
Josephine goes shopping Blackie 1926
Josephine’s Christmas party blackie 1927
Josephine keeps house blackie 1931
The Josephine dolly book (contains happy family Josephine John Josephine busy) blackie 1934
Josephine's Pantomime Blackie 1939
Josephine goes travelling Blackie 1940

Josephine Keeps House by Mrs H. C. Cradock. Colour plate

In the first book in the series, we get to meet the dolls who are really the stars of the show. I’m sure the author had fun describing them as in; Charlie has pale blue eyes, a crack in his head, a little hole in his nose and no feet and no arms.  While Sunny Jim is “Always smiling even though the back of his head is off.”

Josephine Keeps House by Mrs H. C. Cradock. Colour plate

In Josephine Keeps House Josephine and the dolls are moving but as Josephine explains, “We can’t find one that will do,” “so we must build.” “Now we must count you and see exactly who is big, who is little and all that." 

Josephine Keeps House by Mrs H. C. Cradock. Colour plate

The first time I looked at the two little dolls in the corner of this picture I assumed they were conjoined twins. However, they are described as “The two Koreans.”  "One arm off each."  

Josephine Keeps House by Mrs H. C. Cradock. Colour plate

Have you read anything written by Mrs H. C. Cradock?  

Josephine Keeps House by Mrs H. C. Cradock. Black and white illustration

Josephine Keeps House by Mrs H. C. Cradock. Black and white illustration

I can’t remember every throwing away broken toys. Damaged dolls were great for playing hospitals with. What about you, did you play with your toys long after they were past their best? Do you still have them? 

55 comments:

  1. I can't remember reading these books, but the illustrations seem to be familiar - and they are wonderful! I don't have any toys from my childhood, my mum always threw everything away....Thanks for sharing these beautiful books. Have a good week, hugs, Valerie

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    1. Hello Valerie, I don’t know if you are on Pinterest, but if you are you would be bound to see these pictures there.
      Shame about your toys, I did manage to hang onto a few of mine not that they are worth anything. I’m sure anyone else would think they were junk and put them in the bin :) Hugs Barbara

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  2. My Teddy.....

    I very simply don't recall
    when Teddy came to me,
    I was only two years old;
    he came from Sicily.

    He was a golden teddy bear,
    his head would turn around
    and arms and legs did move,
    but he did not make a sound.

    When I became too old for toys,
    he was put into a drawer,
    carefully preserved and saved,
    I closed my childhood door.

    After many, many years,
    I took him out one day,
    I decided I was old enough
    to go back and play.

    Now he sits beside my bed,
    in his own rocking chair,
    I take lots of comfort that
    he's always sitting there...!

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    1. How lovely Willie, I had no idea you were a poet. Isn’t it wonderful to be at the age where it is OK to go back and play? All those years of being responsible and grown up don’t seem to matter any more. Bring on the toys – lets all have fun. :-)

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  3. Oh, I still have a few of my toys dearest Barbara! And how I remember these days that these illustrations bring back to my memory. The innocent days......we ask, "Where did they go?" I know where they are. They are in us.

    How I LOVE your choices for your shares!

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    1. You are so right Anita. Those days are safe in our memories and our hearts, and it’s lovely to relive them when times are hard.
      Have a wonderful week dear friend.

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  4. Dear Barbara - such an interesting post about this wonderful illustrator. Her art is amazing. Never read the series about Josephine...I certainly missed out for sure. As for my toys - Chatty Cathy still remains - she was so loved that she had to have surgery and be kept together with electrical tape. My beloved dad was the one to put her back together...he always was wonderful in fixing up and repairing broken toys. Thanks for sharing this lovely lady Honor C Appleton's work. Have a delightful day. Hugs!

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    1. I’m so pleased you liked it Debbie. I’m quite sure I would never have parted with Chatty Cathy, she sounds delightful. All the best (most loved) toys were held together with electrical tape and lovely memories of your dad too. Hugs Barbara

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  5. Never read any of her books but the illustrations still hold their charm.

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  6. I LOVE these illustrations. I have not read the books -now on my wish list!I never gave up playing with toys, paper dolls and reading "children's" books. I have one Steiff lion cub hand puppet- saved by my stepmother by some miracle! Both of my mothers were really thorough about giving away my things without telling me. I have spent time and money re-collecting my old playthings and books. ( I think that's why I had a bookshop!-I LOVED finding people's old favourites for them -especially children's books/fairy tales) I LOVE Willie's poem about his Golden bear! I have many toys and books in my room now- Never Too Late to have A Happy Childhood! Thank you for the introduction to the Josephine books, Barbara! your posts are always a joy!

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    1. Hello Colleen, I’m sure you would enjoy them as you and I have very similar tastes. I love paper dolls, just wish I still had some of mine – I’ve got one or two on my shelves, but they are later purchases. I know exactly what you mean about finding lost treasures for other people, it was the thing I enjoyed above all others, and I still miss it.
      Willie’s poem is wonderful. I knew he was talented but had no idea he could write so beautifully.
      My book room is full of toys, jigsaws and games – all of them old, and all priceless!
      Thank you for sharing your memories Colleen, I always look forward to hearing from you.

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    2. HeHe! Thankyou for the mention Colleen...
      I have to be honest, l never had a Teddy Bear,
      l had a Golly~Wog...oooops! Sorry! A Jolly Golly!
      As they are called now! :).
      Rhyming those two names was a little difficult,
      so, l decided on a Teddy..! :).

      I have many things from my childhood...And, l
      saved many things from my daughters childhood,
      all looked after, and still in all their boxes!
      sssssh! Don't tell her..but l do get her 'Girls
      World' out at times and give her hair a brush...! :0).

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  7. Such lovely illustrations and so nostalgic. They take me back to my early reading days. I'm always fascinated by those who can depict stories, capturing their essence. I can't remember if I've read Appleton's books, but I do remember that my toys were more valuable than anything. I was a broken toy hoarder.

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    1. Hello Lee, broken toy hoarders are the best! :)

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  8. What an adorable book. Love the characters of the dolls. I have not read her books but the illustrations are lovely which makes me want to read it. You are so right broken dolls always ended up as patients. I cant remember ever throwing away my broken dolls. They all had a special place in my heart. Sadly my mum gave away my dolls once i came to England. I was so sad when i heard what she had done.

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    1. Hello Shashi, I’m glad I kept a few of the things my son loved. They are stored in our loft, and he is living in Australia, so I don’t know if he and they will ever be reunited, but at least they are here should he want them.
      I’m sad about your dolls, but at least you have lovely memories.

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  9. I don't think I have read any of her work. Love those quirky illustrations too.
    I still have my teddies. My dolls (who were beheaded when my brothers were studying the French Revolution) are long gone.

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    1. I had to smile when I read what your brothers did to your dolls! My brother enjoyed putting spiders in my bed, but I don’t think he ever beheaded any of my dolls. :)

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  10. I wonder if the duck in his sailor suit was the inspiration for Donald?

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    1. Hi Sue, anything is possible. Donald was created in the 1930s (I believe), and the Josephine books were certainly around before then.

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  11. I love children's books illustrators. What they produce is so joyous.

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    1. I agree Sandra. They always make me smile.

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    2. And the colors in these are so bright and cheerful.
      They are indeed smile worthy.
      Hope you have a pleasant evening, Barbara.
      x

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    3. Thank you Sandra and hope your week is going great. x

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  12. I don't think I have read anything by this author- but I definitely kept broken toys. With 3 brothers pulling all kinds of stunts with my dolls- I learned to make their cut hair, broken limbs, etc. all a part of the story I was telling with them. :)

    Beautiful illustrations! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hello Stephanie, thank you for sharing a little of your childhood with us. I think we were very lucky growing up with brothers even though they got up to mischief!

      I love that you incorporated your broken dolls into stories; it just goes to show you were born to be a storyteller.

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  13. I have my first doll, her name is Katy. I also have a stuffed musical bunny that used to play Rock-abye baby but the wind up mechanism seems to be broke. I have a wooden monkey my dad brought as a gift when he traveled to San Francisco. We lived in Boston then. The poor monkey's head rolls off the counter all the time. I could get lost in those illustrations. Adorable.

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    1. Hello Eve, I love that you still have your doll and stuffed toys. Maybe the monkey is asking you to fix his head back on? I find a bit of blu tack works wonders! Either that or he is having fun with you.

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  14. Great illustrations. Looks good.

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  15. What a marvelous post, Barbara. The illustrations are fabulous and the dolls are the stars of those books, I'm sure. The illustrations bring the stories to life .

    I had one doll as a child, but never played with it. I had a train set that interested me more than dolls. I also had a chemistry set that made some awful and sometimes awesome messes. My grandmother finally got rid of it, which I apparently didn't mind. BTW, I still have the doll, but not the other childhood toys. Go figure!

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth, I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Your mention of a chemistry set reminded me of a time when my son was small. He had one which he loved (and made an awful lot of mess with) until one day he managed to start a fire in the kitchen. It was only a very small fire, and we put it out without calling the fire brigade, but it was the last time he played with his chemistry set. The good thing was he didn’t get burnt, but it could have been an entirely different story. I’m sorry to say the chemistry set went in the dustbin, and I’ve felt guilty about it ever since.

      Have you grown to love your doll now?

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  16. Sounds gorgeous illustrations, lovely vibrant colours.

    I can remember my (naughty little) sister snapping my Sindy doll in half. I played hospitals and magician's assistant with her for ages - yes, in my mind she was cut in half, the result of a magic trick gone wrong (my cousin's Action Man the magician). I don't know which I cried most about, my sister snapping her in two or my mam throwing her in the bin (My Sindy doll and not my sister that is).

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    1. Ha ha Tracy I’m willing to bet you would have rather your sister went in the bin! I’m afraid I’m the naughty little sister in our family, although I’m sure I was very good really!

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  17. Thank you so much for the wonderful article about Mrs H C Cradock and her books. I am a long time collector of books about dolls and toys that come to life. I only have four of her books; Peggy and Joan, and three in the series about a Teddy Bear, illustrated by Joyce Brisley, which I found in a wonderful children’s bookstore in Hay-On-Wye. I also have Pamel Prince’s 1992 book titled, A Day with Josephine and Her Friends, using the Honor Appleton illustrations and updating the text. One of my all time favorite books is Bunchy, written and illustrated by Joyce Brisley, found in the wonderful bookstore in the old Alnick Railway Station on another trip to England. I would love to find an original Josephine book in my price range. Thanks again,
    Mary Herzog, Napa, California

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    1. Hello Mary, thanks so much for your comment. I love visiting Hay on Wye and even did a blog post about it back in 2014 – if you’ve not seen the post you will find it here http://marchhousebookscom.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/hay-on-wye-book-heaven.html
      I’m very envious of your visit to the Alnwick Railway Station Bookshop. I've long wanted to go. I was also interested to hear about A Day with Josephine by Pamela Prince because I didn’t know anything about it. I’ve just been looking at it on Amazon and feel a book purchase coming on. :-)
      If you visit England again you might like to try Marchpane Books in London. They had several Josephine books when I was there earlier this year. They are not online so the only way to see their stock is to visit although you could probably ring and ask them which books they have and the prices.
      Thanks again both for reading my blog and for leaving a comment. Barbara

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  18. I don't know this author but I suspect she was more popular in the UK. I still have my teddies and my rubber dolly (who's entire back is missing) You don't through old friends away!!

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    1. Hi Darlene, that is such a lovely sentiment – hang on to those old friends!

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    2. I guess throw would have been a better word!

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    3. That is exactly how I read it Darlene, had you not pointed it out I would never have noticed. :)

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  19. What a find! These illustrations are just enchanting. I adore book illustrations and these top it! I am not familiar with her, even from my children's lit classes way back when but I think I should be!

    Thank you for your most wonderful comment on my blog. And please, don't give up on your family history. There are some good tricks that are hard to find if you are starting alone but I did -- just birth and death dates of parents and grandparents and a few other facts but nothing major. I'm planning a post on starting from scratch. Honestly, it's worth it!

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    1. Hi Jeanie, I adore book illustrations too and love to share them with like-minded people (like you).

      I will look forward to your starting from scratch post – I need all the help I can get.
      xx

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  20. I love these illustrations! They are priceless! I still have my first teddy bear and my first doll!!! I will never get rid of them! Big Hugs!

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    1. Me too Stacy, they are just gorgeous! It’s lovely that you still have your first ted and doll – they are so worth keeping. Hugs Barbara

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  21. That looks like a great find. The illustrations are lovely.

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  22. Hello Barbara - you ask - Have you read anything written by Mrs H. C. Cradock? No, I haven't but I really enjoyed your post.

    Thinking back to childhood, it was my poor teddy bear that, on occasions, seemed to come off worse for wear. To this day I can remember garden fun pretending he was on a swing! In fact I'd hung him on my Mother's washing line (from his ears - oh dear!) and was trying to push him backward and forward like a swing. I don't think teddy or my mother appreciated it - he needed a few stitches afterwards ... poor teddy.

    Happy mid-week wishes

    All the best Jan

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    1. I loved reading about your teddy Jan, and I can just see him swinging by his ears! My dolls and teddy’s got cruelly treated at times, but it was all done with love. :)
      Enjoy the rest of the week. x

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  23. Fun illustrations, Barbara, and I always enjoy reading all the comments (love Willie's poem!). I'm curious about Josephine. I assume she's the little dark-haired girl with the big bow on her head in two of the pictures. So, then, who are the children in the first picture? Maybe older siblings or cousins. I guess I'll have to look into the books to find out! :)

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    1. Hello Marcia, Josephine is the little girl in the first picture, and the boy is her friend John. The dark-haired ‘girl’ is actually a doll (you might be able to discern that if you take another look at the pictures), called Dorothy. The dolls are all named and described in the first book which unfortunately I don’t have. Josephine keeps house is the ninth book in the series. In an ideal world, I would have bought the first book first and so on, but as you know, it’s not that easy. I would love to know what you think of the stories and illustrations if you happen to come across them.

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    2. Oh, okay, thank you for the explanation. Dorothy looks so much bigger in those bottom pictures than she does on the shelf---my excuse for mistaking her for a real girl!

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    3. Nothing to excuse Marcia, it was my fault for not making a better job of explaining the story. I got carried away with the pictures and forgot the words. :)

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  24. Hi Barbara, the illustrations are wonderful. I find the attention given to details highly admirable and hope to do that for my own illustrations, too. My sisters and I used to keep all our toys, even the broken ones. But when it was time to part (since we were grown), we gave a lot away. I still keep some of my favourite ones and most of them are dolls with grimy cheeks. My youngest sister still keeps most of her stuffed toys. I think it's difficult for some of us to give away a part of our childhood!

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    1. Dear Claudine, I’ve seen some of your illustrations, and I know you do exactly that. I love that your dolls have grimy cheeks it shows how much you played with them. Good for you and your sister it’s right to hang on to childhood things.

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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