Sunday 1 March 2015

Frank Bellamy and Home Notes magazine

I don't think you'll enjoy this post on Frank Bellamy. Remember I warned you!

Home Notes 27 July 1951

 Home Notes, which was first published in 1894 by C. Arthur Pearson, Ltd., on every Friday  contained, as the Writers and Artists Year Book 1949 stated:

“Love stories from 2000 to 4000 words in length. Well written serials from 40,000 to 60,000 words. Dramatic but not sensational. Articles of topical, love, and domestic interest, 500 to 1000 words. Original designs in knitting or crochet.[…] Illustration: Three-colour cover and centrespread. Story and article illustrations in colour, line or wash”.  

Artists that appeared around the same time as Frank Bellamy were Fred Laurent, Ray Bailey, Peter Kay, Philip Townsend, and Leslie Caswell (with whom Mike Noble worked – who also worked on TV21 with Bellamy in the sixties).

Home Notes (23rd Feb 1951)
"Don't envy Louise", by Nancy Pearce p.15
"Louise pushed at him with her hands. 'Don't spoil our evening like this, Terry!'"

In total I have found Bellamy produced 5 pieces in black and white washes illustrating romance stories for Home Notes in 1951 with titles such as "Don't envy Louise", "Nicholas comes to dinner", and "Impatient heart". Little wonder then that “he hated those sort of girlie illustrations, static things which he hated drawing. It wasn’t his cup of tea at all, but he did them for the money. He wanted to draw something with a bit of guts to it.” (Nancy Bellamy from the interview with Alan Woollcombe, Speakeasy #100, 16 page insert, 1989 to accompany "The Unseen Frank Bellamy" exhibition).

Home Notes (30th March 1951)"Nicholas comes to dinner" by Norah Smaridge, p.6
"Sylvia wanted him for what he could give her, but Patty, shyly and secretly, loved him with all her heart."

During this period he also is known to have entered some of his own (non-commercial) work in his local Merton and Morden Art and Crafts Exhibition (18th to 23rd June 1951) perhaps to get out of the rut he had gotten himself into. The good news was that he was soon to go freelance and by the end of that year International Artists, Ltd. (founded in 1933), wrote to Bellamy to confirm they would act as his agent.

Home Notes (16th March 1951), p.7. "Something to remember" by Margaret Bathe
"'It's not my fault', he said angrily, 'if you wanted luxury, you should have married some other man'."

I only own two of these magazines so have scanned photocopies to fill the gaps for your pleasure and delight!

Home Notes (30th Nov 1951) "It happened on Sunday" by Constance Howard pp.12-13
"'I can't go on any longer,' she said, 'it's too much to bear

Home Notes (27th July 1951), "Impatient heart" by Judith Blaney, p.15
"'Oh darling!', she whispered, ' I thought you would never come home'".

UPDATE August 2021 - thank you Shaqui


Home Notes 8 February 1953

Now finally, I want to ask for your help...Those of you who do this sort of research, wading through tons of paper and trying to identify an artist's work with no more than a guess, will know what I mean.

This piece appears in Home Notes 6 July 1951 issue and as I was wading through the Home Notes magazines for this period (I would have looked both sides of 1951) I spotted this little advert in a page of adverts. The style of the banner and the cartoon style remind me so much of Bellamy's Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph work on the 1940s but how can we know if it is his work? I suppose we have to identify it and say....maybe! What do you think?

Home Notes 1951 6 July p.36

Is this Bellamy?
Well, that's his romance illustrations, except I should mention here too the piece that Tim Barnes kindly shared with me. I think it was once owned by Mike Lake but we have no idea where and if it ever appeared. The style and look is so like the Home Notes work I have always thought it was done for that publication. Why is it in red? Maybe a filter would be placed over it before publication? Anyone out there go any idea?

"Romance illustration" supplied by Tim Barnes
I personally really enjoy these era of Bellamy's work, he continued using various techniques in Boy's Own Paper before his Mickey Mouse work in line and black and white only. Such a versatile artist. So did you enjoy this or not?


Kid said...

It's interesting to learn that Bellamy hated these kind of illustrations, because it doesn't show in the work itself. On the whole, I'd say they're better than his Thunderbirds pages, which always looked a bit rushed to me.

Norman Boyd said...

Nancy repeated this story in several places and looking at his output it looks to me that he wanted to get out of it. He'd come from cartoons in Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph to commercial work in the Norfolk Studios and was about to do the advertising "Commando Gibbs" in the Eagle. I think he knew he wanted more....Thanks for writing

John said...

Hi Norman,

"In total I have found Bellamy produced 5 pieces in black and white washes [...]."
Do you mean 6 (six) washes? You reproduced the illustrations from 2 original magazines and you 'scanned [4] photocopies to fill the gaps'. Grand total: 6 washes :-)

John Wigmans

[email protected] said...

Hey Norman - how could we possibly NOT like these unseen (by me at least) gems by the great man?! Always had a fondness for the one-offs as I imagine he would have taken more time over them than the strip work allowed. Not sure if they are better then Tbirds Kid - a bit like comparing apples and oranges I think. I did foolishly try to emulate FB's creative process years ago when I first started drawing and failed miserably to produce even one page of strip art in a week let alone two but reckon I might have managed a single illo in that timescale. Maybe. Thanks again Norman - much appreciated!!

Norman Boyd said...

I'm so glad someone is reading my prose! I've obviously confused you though! One piece is a double page which I've shown as two on top of each other as they would look small if I joined them together - and I'm not much use at that sort of stuff!

Good to hear from one of the founders of "FB Appreciation Society".
Thanks for writing - made me laugh!


Alan Woollcombe said...

Hi Norman

Interesting. Do you know if Bellamy produced any illustrations for Home Notes before (or indeed after) 1951?

Keep up the detective work!


Norman Boyd said...

Hi Alan,
So good to hear from you.
According to my notes I searched the British Library's copies for Jan-June1950
Jul-Dec 1950
Jul-Dec 1951
Are you thinking about something?

Alan Woollcombe said...

My memory is too fuzzy to recall the details, but Nancy had pulled out artwork and magazines for my colleagues to choose what to take to the exhibition (The Unseen Frank Bellamy). There were a lot of magazines, though whether they were multiple copies or indeed Home Notes I don't recall. Unfortunately I didn't take any photos (can't think why not).
Not much help I'm afraid.

Norman Boyd said...

But nevertheless Alan, your name is in the history of Frank Bellamy!