Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Hagen-Renakers Around the World, 1958

Looking through images from old newspapers online this morning, I came across this news feature story. It shows one way that Hagen-Renaker figurines were promoted during the 1950s. 

The story, and accompanying photo, came from the 23 May 1958 Monrovia, California News-Post -- the local paper. The article described how the League of Women Voters was promoting Monrovia businesses that were helping to expand world trade at the time.  

Note that Josef Originals is also mentioned, along with Avery Labels.  "These companies export products to Europe, South Africa, Australia, Canada and Mexico," the article says.

If you worry about your clinky model horse figurines breaking, take a deep breath before looking at this picture of The Hat.

With apologies to Dr. Seuss and PBS Kids, I can only conclude that The Horse in the Hat Knew a Lot About Travel!

Nearly Lost Equine Images, Part 2: Because Ponies and Cats and Children Matter

One of the reasons I created this blog was to record the importance of model horses, and real horses, in the lives of children and adults during the twentieth century.  This is the second in a series of posts about real horse photos that turned up in some old albums from the 1920s through 1950s. Had the pictures not been rescued, the images of these horses might have been lost forever.

The old photograph albums my friend rescued from an estate sale in Southern California a few months ago, contained many pictures of children and ponies.  Some of the pictures had names written on the backs; these did not, as far as I know.  

Judging from the way the children are dressed, it was a chilly day in Minnesota or South Dakota, where the family farm was located in the 1920s-1930s.  

The pony helped keep the family cats warm.  And vice versa.

I think the pony's eyes are closed!  (Is this bliss? Or a prayer that the cats don't start to fall off and use their claws to hang on?)

(Many thanks to Melanie Teller for letting me scan these equine/feline images for posterity. The photo album has now been given to a local history museum for safekeeping!)

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Horse Book Illustrators: Lionel Edwards (1878-1966)

Horse books are important parts of every model horse collector's life. They help give us a context for the figurines on our shelves. 

One of the first English horse illustrators I became familiar with, was Lionel Edwards. I found many examples of his artwork I hadn't seen before, in a 1947 book called "Horses and Riders" by Peter Lunn. I found it at a library used book sale last week for $2.00.

The combination of Edwards' equine art with short stories by writers of the day is compelling.  Perhaps the best thing I can do is show you some examples of each from the book. I'll put links to more information on them after the illustrations.

Poet Siegfried Sassoon:

"Horses...are essentially unmodernisable and have absolutely refused to move with the times...Low flying aeroplanes in the late war did not even cause them to lift their heads from the grass they were munching..." -- Siegfried Sassoon

"All the essential elements will still be there -- the smell of a winter morning, the behaviour of the animal, and the sense of personal adventure and physical well-being of the rider." -- Siegfried Sassoon

Lionel Edwards himself:

"Outside the Bank the traffic was dense, but all horse, and therefore it smacked of the countryside. Horse buses, brewers' drays with red-capped drivers, hansom cabs, donkey carts and even immense hay wagons bringing in food for London's vast population." -- Lionel Edwards

Lady Cynthia Asquith, remembering the stories her grandmother told her about her own first horse:
"'He was piebald, which I thought gave him an enchantingly circussy air, but my father -- your great-grandfather -- said he looked like a ball made out of blotting paper.'" -- Cynthia Asquith

"'I decided I must make an indoor pet of my horse.'' -- Cynthia Asquith

Author and equestrian A. F. Tschiffely, who famously rode from Argentina to New York City in the 1920s.
"Oh yes, I remember him so well that he seems to be standing before me as I'm writing these lines. He was a lovely chap, a golden-red and snow-white skewbald with a bristly mane, proud fiery eyes and a long flowing tail...When I first laid eyes on jim, my joy was so great that I forgot everything else; my greatest desire was fulfilled; I owned a horse!" -- A. F. Tschiffely

 "Ever since my early childhood, when I was the proud owner of the skewbald rocking-horse, I have had a liking for animals of 'broken' colours.... Probably this is why I immediately took a fancy to the newly arrived piebald whose peculiar black patches made him look like a circus horse." -- A. F. Tschiffely

Stage and TV star Vic Oliver: 

"I shall never have another friend like him. He was the first horse I owned, and although not of aristocratic breed, he had  the meekness of a lamb and the courage of a lion." -- Vic Oliver

Laurian Jones was the daughter of Enid Bagnold, author of National Velvet.

"My youngest brother was to ride Jim in the second class, that for the best pony under thirteen hands two." -- Laurian Jones

Here are biographies of the artist and the authors:

Lionel Edwards:  

Siegfried Sassoon: 

A. F. Tschiffely:  

Lady Cynthia Asquith: 

Laurian Jones: