Showing posts with label Gerald Durrell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gerald Durrell. Show all posts

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Frank Bellamy and Lilliput

I was browsing my collection of Bellamy magazines and realised I have never shared anything about Lilliput magazine. I recently supplied some information to Paul Liss, a fine art dealer, (see the catalogue of Raymond Sheppard's work) and thought it worth showing some of Sheppard's contemporary, Bellamy's work from that very popular magazine. One day I might emulate the late great historian Alan Bullock and do a parallel lives of the two of them.

Stefan Lorant created Lilliput in July 1937. “The Pocket Magazine for Everyone” certainly was pocket-sized (it grew in size later in 1954, presumably as all rationing ended in England and consumerism really took off)  One of the lovely things about sitting page turning in the British Library is that you really get a flavour for a period. I am in love with the 1950s. The plethora of illustrations in these magazines is amazing. Line work with wash, cartoons, caricatures and so on. All the names are there too: Eric Fraser's bold lines; Robin Jacques delicate pointillism , Neville Dear adventurous illustrations and so on. The most famous was Ronald Searle, whose St. Trinians cartoons appeared from October 1941 until he (unsuccessfully) killed off the characters in 1951. July 1960 was the last issue of Lilliput which - like many children's comics of my youth, contained so called 'good news' - the merger with Men Only (more of which in a later article).

 Bellamy's work in Lilliput,  began in 1954 at the time he had a regular strip in Mickey Mouse Weekly, 'Monty Carstairs' and also he was doing regular illustrations for Boy's Own Paper. The following year he was illustrating for Everybody's (another prestigious magazine that Sheppard also illustrated for) and Outspan, the South African equivalent of Everybody's. All this from a self-taught artist from Kettering, Northamptonshire

Gerald Durrell (January 7, 1925 – January 30, 1995) was first published a year before this article appeared in Lilliput - 'Overloaded ark' appeared in 1953 and of course his Bafut Beagles (his "party of native specimen hunters" from Cameroon) were equally famous at the time . It would be fantastic to know how Bellamy was chosen to illustrate this story called "Que-Fong-Goo" - the native name for the skink illustrated. Illustrators were very important to Durrell's work (see Wikipedia)  he was no mean artist himself - but Bellamy obviously didn't make enough of an impression on Durrell for him to request him at a later date. But that's all supposition on my part! 

The six illustrations accompanying this article are all by Bellamy and show his love of all things native. Remember references for these things had to be worked at - no Internet back then - and photos of Bellamy at home show his collection of Africana

Bellamy's stippling (that mass of dot s that provide perspective in the illustration above) and line work here are very mature. I'm sure he knew this was a prestigious commission and as we can see he went on to do six more commissions for Lilliput. I suspect by the end of 1956 his regular work in Swift (and then Eagle later in 1957) plus these odd commissions were enough work to keep his small family comfortable

 All illustrations are copyright of their owner, which I'm guessing is IPC (who acquired much of Odhams, who acquired Hulton. Please contact me (feedbackATfrankbellamyDOTcom) if anyone can enlighten me