Friday, April 29, 2011

A Royal Day

Seeing all the images of the Royal Wedding on television this morning reminded me of a children's book I bought over 20 years ago. There was something about Prince William's red jacket, which
signified his new appointment as Royal Colonel of the Irish Guards, that triggered my memory about "The Favershams," written by the late Roy Gerrard.

Born in England, Roy Gerrard left school at the age of 13 to train at Salford School of Art, intending to make a living as an abstract oil painter. Instead, he became an art teacher and department head. He never exhibited his oil paintings and in 1970 he decided he was finished with painting and destroyed all his existing work!!

In 1972 he was immobilized for several weeks after a climbing accident, and he started tinkering around with small watercolors. He became obsessed and gradually it took up all his spare time. It took him about three years, but he finally arrived at his true style of painting: "small, highly detailed watercolors, remorselessly whimsical and often Victorian/Edwardian in subject."
"The Favershams," a story of upper-class Victorians, was also a mini-biography, with stages from babyhood onward placed against elaborate landscapes and architectural settings. The backgrounds are full of wild exaggerations in scale and surface detail, but the watercolors keep them playful.
Unfortunately, Roy Gerrard passed away at the age of 62, while bike riding in the English countryside. "The Favershams" was chosen by The New York Times Book Review as best illustrated book of the year in 1983. Two more of his titles were also given the same award, "Sir Cedric" and "Sir Francis Drake." His books are still available on Amazon where you can see more of his art on the "look inside" feature.


Cristiana C. said...

Hi Deb! Thank you for this hint, the artwork is amazing and, for sure, in perfect royal style!! ;-)

Brimful Curiosities said...

Goodness, those little people are quite oddly shaped...and naked?