Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Jane Shaw Artists (1): Gilbert Dunlop

The spine from the first book in the Penny Series, Penny Foolish. My copy is a Britannic edition, lavishly illustrated and with a colour frontispiece. The illustration shows the leading charcter out for a walk in the hills of Arran. All of the Penny stories were illustrated by Gilbert Dunlop, who also illustrated other Nelson titles such as the three Thomas books and Venture to South Africa.

Gilbert Dunlop (1909-1984) was brought up in Alloa, Scotland. At the age of 18, he went to work for D. C. Thomson in Dundee, where he would spend the greater part of his life. He was hired on the strength of his talent alone. Apart from attending a few classes at the Dundee School of Art, he had no formal training. He had a varied career. During World War II, he served in the RAF. After the war, he worked mainly as an illustrator of children's books, but also designed greetings cards and did a great deal of painting. In the 1970s, he worked only as a freelancer. His output was prolific. When he passed away, he left a large collection of his work, which is still displayed in exhibitions today. His daughter Jennifer and granddaughter Jo also became artists and have run an exhibition called Four Artists: A Family Affair, with their own work, paintings by Gilbert Dunlop and his nephew Hamish. But to most people, Gilbert Dunlop will be remembered for his drawings in children's books. In addition to Jane Shaw, he illustrated many books by Enid Blyton and other authors such as Winifred Darch, Mollie Chappel and Buster Brown, to name only a few. His work also appeared in Collins' annuals, in one case (see below) alongside the illustrator of the Susan books, R. A. Branton. Both artists provided drawings for the 1954 Girls' Annual: R. A. Branton illustrated The Wilsons Won't Mind, while Gilbert Dunlop provided the artwork for Beware of Uncles by Anne Barrett.