Alice is a curious girl whose look never stops changing. Her adventures began in 1865 when Lewis Carroll wrote the story about a young girl falling down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world full of peculiar creatures. Alice has enchanted generations ever since and become a bit a fashion trend-setter.
Mabel Lucie Attwell said her greatest achievement in life was being a mum.
‘…motherhood was the most wonderful thing in my life. My career is me and my pictures are me, but no artist, or writer – or scientist – could make anything as perfect as a baby, and yet through me it had been done.’
How did the ideas tumble from Mabel's mind onto the page? Did she use a formula to ensure success whether postcard, book or comic strip?
We take a look at interviews with Mabel and her original artwork and notes to settle the question.
The clocks will be going back an hour on Sunday 28 October as British Summer Time (BST) moves to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
We take a look at when and why changing our clocks began and share a few timely Mabel sayings!
Mabel’s sayings make us smile everyday!
Digging around in the archives of Mabel Lucie Attwell treasures is always a happy treat – so to celebrate World Smile Day we thought we’d share a few of our favourites...
It’s great to see these beautiful illustrations, full of fun, wit, and joy come out of the archives to ‘make people laugh’ – the thing Mabel loved to do most. We know from the many letters Mabel received during her lifetime, that her art meant so much to so many people. From inspiring everyone to calm down and carry on in the face of two World Wars or to take ‘the steam out of the family battleground’, Mabel’s work brought comfort and laughter to homes across the world and across generations.
World Smile Day began in 1999 when Harvey Ball, the artist behind the smiley face, declared that everyone should devote one day each year to smiles and kind acts. Ever since, people across the world celebrate with smiles and good deeds on the first Friday in October. We’d love to hear about yours @mabel_lucie
The Water-Babies paperback brings a touch of sparkle to our range of books
In an exciting addition to our paperback collaborations with publishers, Macmillan, Mabel's original line artwork vividly brings to life the story of one of Britain's most gifted writers.
Fascinating characters – Lord of all the fish, Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid, Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby, molly-mocks, the Examiner-of-all-Examiners, water-babies and a young boy called Tom – leap off the page and capture imaginations.
Go on an adventure with a young boy called Tom into an underwater world. Discover fairies, insects and water nymphs as Tom starts a new life full of wonder and excitement.
First published by Macmillan in 1863, The Water-Babies is still one of the most unusual and enchanting children’s books ever written. This edition contains glorious original illustrations by Mabel Lucie Attwell and activities and a quiz to continue the fun.
Charles Kingsley wrote The Water-Babies for his son, Grenville, when he was about four. The classic tale of adventure, rescue and discovery shares Kingsley’s love of natural history, his fascination with scientific study and sense of duty to teach children moral values. For Mabel, his sense of humour must have made illustrating the tale a joy.
The new addition with a beautifully foiled cover is available here
The stories behind the name Boo-Boos
The recent happy announcement by Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans, about the arrival of twins Boo and Walt, made us think about Mabel’s Boos and all their fun-filled adventures.
So we thought we’d share some of Mabel Lucie Attwell’s illustrations to wish Chris, his wife Natasha and sons Noah and Eli huge congratulations on the new arrivals to their family.
‘Motherhood was the wonderful thing in my life,’ said Mabel, reflecting fondly on family times spent with her husband Harold and three children. Perhaps reading stories together at bedtime inspired Mabel to invent her own world of make-believe. And so, in 1921, The Boo-Boos’ stories began…in which the cheeky ‘do-good’ fairies enjoy many adventures with a young girl called Bunty and Mops, a fluffy white dog.
We wish Boo and Walt as many fun and loving memories with their family.
Find out more about the Boo-Boos adventures here.
‘People say I’m laughing when I draw a picture. When I am drawing a bad goblin, I often have someone in mind.’
Mabel talking to Carolyn Scott for Modern Woman magazine, October 1961
PETER PAN AND WENDY
When J.M. Barrie insisted his publishers ask Mabel Lucie Attwell to illustrate the first edition of Peter Pan and Wendy for younger readers, a bestseller was born. In this new paperback, the beautiful original line artwork created by Mabel, once again, transports the reader into the enchanting world of Never-Land.
The classic tale follows the Darling children – Wendy, John and Michael – who befriend the magical Peter and are whisked away to the Never-Land, where the villainous Captain Hook and the brave Lost Boys await.
First published in 1921, it’s a tale that never gets old and this edition also features puzzles and activities to continue the classic adventure. We’re proud to be continuing our collaboration with Macmillan to launch this paperback with a beautifully foiled cover.
In 1929, Barrie gifted Peter Pan and its copyright to Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London. This generous bequest means that his ever-popular story continues to directly benefit sick children.
Alice in Wonderland & Peter Pan and Wendy republished
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.
Celebrating 150th Anniversary
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
Cheeky ‘do-good’ fairies
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-BoosThe Boo-Boos and Bunty's BabyThe Boo-Boos at SchoolThe Boo-Boos at the SeasideThe Boo-Boos at Honey Sweet FarmThe Boo-Boos and Santa Claus
Have a peak at our two limited edition Boo-Boos prints:The Boo-Boos get Bunty readyBoo-Boos bedtime