Thursday, February 20, 2014

Jacynth Parsons Illustrates John Masefield

Every now and again you pick up an illustrated book and see something you haven't seen before. This seems to be happening to me with increasing frequency at the moment. Today it was this little number by John Masefield, South and East, a long and suitably fanciful Arthurian poem of quests and faeries and fantasy. It is illustrated by Jacynth Parsons. Parsons was born about 1912 and this book, published in 1929. This would be remarkable enough but is made astounding by the fact that before this book, she had already illustrated published editions of W H Davies Forty Nine Poems and William Blake's Songs of Innocence. She was hailed from the age of 15 as a prodigy and a genius as it was at that time she had her first exhibition, attended and patronised by Queen Mary. There is perhaps something a little 'girlish' in these paintings... but not much! I am always astounded at the ability of both Masefield and Walter de la Mare to attract the most amazing rosta of illustrators but Ms Parsons is one I shall be looking out for from now on.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous illustrations. I have never seen these before now, but when I was a child we had an old and tatty copy of "Songs of Innocence" with an illustration of a divine boy reading a book, all barefooted, curly haired, and full of life. Perhaps I can thank for Parsons for never being able to turn down a bookish man with curly hair and cute feet.

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