Thursday, March 28, 2013

Richard Kennedy Illustrates Rosemary Sutcliff


Rosemary Sutcliff (1920-1992), a childrens' author who published mainly in the 1950s and 60s has featured now a number of times on this blog, in connection with both Jamie Bell's bottom and, more seriously, with the illustrative company she kept. The tradition of illustrated children's books in this way, with simple black and white illustrations in the text seems to have waned but I continue to believe that the 1940s to the 70s was a really overlooked period in illustration which should be given much more study and attention. In this case, Outcast (OUP, 1955), was illustrated by Richard Pitt Kennedy who began his career as a publisher's apprentice at the Hogarth Press under Virginia and Leonard Woolf. Indeed Kennedy published and illustrated a book with the Whittington Press called A Boy at the Hogarth Press. He was a prolific illustrator and from what I can see, these illustrations for Sutcliff, which look like crayon on textured board are somewhat unusual for a man whose main illustration work was done in pen and ink wash. He was a great admirer of Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, one of the founders of the Vorticist movement; there is little sign of that in these images. But he was prolific and clearly, someone who illustrates such a quantity of material is going to demonstrate a certain variety over time. 






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