Monday, 15 April 2013

Raymond Sheppard, Lilliput stories and Gerald Durrell

Raymond Sheppard illustrated many stories in Lilliput between1951 and 1957. I am missing one or two issues of the magazine and will have to add them to my search list to double check they do not contain Sheppard drawings. I've chosen a few to show you to demonstrate his great illustrative talent. There are 70 issues containing Sheppard illustrations (and many other great artists) so we shouldn't run out of material any time soon!


Lilliput issues with Sheppard illustrations
1951 8
1952 12
1953 11
1954 6
1955 12
1956 10
1957 11
Total issues 70




Lilliput July 1954 (Cover by Victoria)


Gibson Cowan tells his story (On your own) of his first sailing adventure in a two masted boat, a yawl. Sheppard shows this in the first of two illustrations he did for the story. Is this the same Gibson-Cowan - note the hyphen - that's associated with taking Elizabeth David across to France and starting her love of Mediterranean cooking? It looks to be based on some comments I've seen. The second illustration shows Gibson-Cowan approaching a lighthouse ship in fog

Lilliput July 1954, p.73



Lilliput June 1954 (Cover by Victoria)
The next one is interesting in that Gerald Durrell (who was perfectly matched for illustrations by Sheppard) drafts an incident (Forest of flying mice) that appeared later in the renowned The Bafut Beagles also published in 1954. We see a group of 'flying mice', actually more like squirrels who glide, as well as Durrell himself (did Sheppard have photo reference?) climbing the inside of a hollow tree with a local man's shadow at the base.We also see Jacob, a local from Cameroon, climb a tree above the hollowed one Durrell is investigating. He lowers the string to enable Durrell to tie nets and boxes to catch the squirrels.

Lilliput June 1954, p. 65
Flying squirrels and Durrell ascending a hollow tree


Lilliput June 1954, p. 67
An idiurus climbs down a trunk

Lilliput June 1954, p. 66
"[Jacob] lowered the end of a long piece of string to us"

If you want to know more about this topic read Karl Shuker's fascinating account

Lilliput May 1954 (Cover by Victoria)
Another Gerald Durrell story, this time in the local 'patoi' which Durrell used a lot in the previous story "Dis beef 'e chop too much". The beef in question, Durrell initially sees as a typhlops (which Wikipedia describes as a 'blind snake') and therefore harmless. Unfortunately for Durrell, it is not a typhlops and bites him.

The illustration by Raymond Sheppard shows Durrell grasping his arm with Jacob helping and the cook standing behind them both. The snake is on the verandah below them. The second picture shows Durrell slicing his wound open and the third, Cameroon men gathered around a car owned by the 'Fon'


Lilliput May 1954, p. 65
Durrell and Jacob and Cook on verandah
- Durrell drops snake after being bitten

Lilliput May 1954, p. 65
Cameroon men gather around
Durrell attacks his wound with a razor



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