Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan and Wendy were launched in style at Chris Beetles popular art gallery in St James's, London in December 2016. The event, promoted by Mabel Lucie Attwell publishers Macmillan and hosted by Chris Beetles, featuring Mabel Lucie Attwell originals in his current exhibition The Illustrators 2016. The launch, attended by national press and joined by Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler, was a great celebration of Mabel Lucie's work going back on the shelves, just in time for Christmas shoppers to enjoy these gorgeous, nostalgic gift books.
Mabel Lucie Attwell's stunning colour plates adorn this exciting new edition, celebrating the 150th anniversary of The Water-Babies first publication with her illustrations in 1915.
Once upon a time there was a little chimney sweep, and his name was Tom… so begins the most famous of British Victorian preacher, Charles Kingsley’s fairytales. A blend of fantasy and reality, Kingsley merges moral lessons with fairytale imagination in telling Tom’s story from brutal poverty to exciting underwater adventures as a 'water-baby'.
The Water-Babies was one of the earliest books published specifically for children, first published by Macmillan in 1863, even before Alice in Wonderland. It was extremely popular, appealing both to adults and children.
Celebrating the 150th anniversary of this publication with Mabel Lucie Attwell illustrations, a new edition, available here, is published today (22 October 2015) by Macmillan Children’s Books as part of their Macmillan Classics series. Eight stunning colour plates, alongside beautiful black and white line drawings, bring this lovely new edition to life.
Written at the height of the Industrial Revolution in England, this classic fairytale was partly written by Kingsley in support of his friend Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Kingsley read an advance copy of The Origin of Species and saw no conflict in reconciling it with his religious faith. As well as being a serious critique of the closed-minded approach of scientists of the day, the story also speaks out strongly against child labour. It is credited as the catalyst for the passing of the Chimney Sweeper's Act of 1864 which outlawed the use of climbing boys. Kingsley saw it as his duty to teach children how to live an ethical life.
New to the Macmillan Classic series, this edition makes a perfect gift and collector's treasure.
‘To my babies – Peggy, Max & Brian and all the other dear land babies these pictures are dedicated with my love’ wrote Mabel Lucie Attwell
It was the green umbrella’s doing really, for if he had not suddenly turned inside out and flown away over the seas, carrying Bunty, Mops, and Queen Elizabeth with him, they would never have found the Boo Boos. That’s for certain!
And so The Boo-Boos’ story begins… this is the first of the popular series written and illustrated by Mabel Lucie Attwell in the 1920s, encouraged by her publishers Valentine & Sons. The six little books are now relative rarities. The jaunty little ‘do-good’ elves created by Mabel Lucie Attwell have all kinds of adventures, led by their leader, a crown-wearing King. With Bunty, a young girl, her toy doll Queen Elizabeth and Mops her dog, The Boo-Boos’ tales are full of love, good intention and mischief. From the school to the farmyard and 'Santa Claus', the Boo-Boos conjure up the world of make-believe and adventure that bedtime stories are made of.
The Boo-Boos were a huge success and Mabel Lucie Attwell subsequently illustrated a series of postcards with Boo-Boos scenes. She also later designed the first six plates of a range of children’s nursery ware for Shelley Potteries with Boo-Boos scenes accompanied by a line of verse. A tea set followed with a mushroom house teapot and milk jug with a Boo-Boos’ arm as the handle, with milk poured out of his head!
There are six in the series:
Bunty and the Boo-Boos
The Boo-Boos and Bunty's Baby
The Boo-Boos at School
The Boo-Boos at the Seaside
The Boo-Boos at Honey Sweet Farm
The Boo-Boos and Santa Claus
In an exciting new venture, we are launching a new initiative, Mabel to uncover, rediscover and share her huge variety and diversity of illustrations: from beautiful pencil drawings for children’s classics from Peter Pan to Alice in Wonderland to World War One postcards, the cheeky Boo Boo fairies and many, many more. From postcards for the Royal Family to illustrations for national magazines and advertising for London Underground, Mabel Lucie Attwell's work was hugely popular during her lifetime and is still much loved around the world today.
Keep in touch to be the first to see what we find – as we grow our cards and gifts range alongside a regular blog of memories and stories about Mabel Lucie Attwell’s life and art.