In the way I am in denial about collecting King Penguin books (10 doesn’t a collection make, surely?) I am also in denial about collecting Puffin Picture Books. But they really do speak to me, those books, and ask me to take them home. Such fabulous covers and subjects and illustrations. So lovely and learned and helpful in tone.
I recently devoured a book on the history of Puffins by Phil Baines. Considering it is about some of the prettiest publications ever made, it has about the ugliest cover I’ve seen in a long time. But the innards make it well worth the while. Page after page of beautiful books.
But Binding Your Own Books from 1956 wasn’t illustrated in it. If it had been, it would have been in my sticky paws a lot quicker. Written and illustrated by John Woodcock, about whom I can’t find out much more than he designed another Puffin cover for The Puffin Quiz Book, also in 1956 and later went on to teach at St Martin’s School of Art.
The cover of this book is magical and represents my ideal Sunday afternoon activity of cutting and pasting and making nice paper covers. The patterned papers Woodcock illustrates on the cover and inside the book reference the nice covers of the Penguin music score books. Of which, OK, I also have some.
It’s quite funny that this illustration shows how to re-cover your copy of the Pelican book Uncommon Wild Flowers. Sacrilege, these days, surely?
They are great aren’t they?
I definitely have got something of a habit since I came across them again a few months ago
I have had to set myself a maximum cost to make sure I don’t spend too much on them
The trouble is they don’t appear very often in charity shops or anywhere like that – I found one in a Sheffield Oxfam but that’s it so far.
I have an awful feeling they’ll be being thrown out as too tatty!
If you want to pay a bit more than my ceiling Stella and Rose usually have a good selection, and also have illustrations and a bit of info about them
The Penguin Collectors Society have got several very interesting books
They have even published a “new” Picture Puffin by Paxton Chadwick which comes with a very interesting booklet – Picture Puffin sized natch!
“A Checklist of the Puffin Picture Books and Related Series” is obviously for people like me with a serious list problem but very interesting nevertheless
The more I read about them the more I feel that the whole idea behind Picture Puffins is almost completely alien to us today, the idea that they would be useful, beautiful and accessible. Sadly, you have to suspect that nowadays the only imperative would be how much could we sell them for and how big a profit can we make
Yes, Stella and Rose is a bit above my ceiling too, but for the rare ones it is tempting. You really don’t find them so often or you find the same, presumably more common, ones. Thanks for the links to the Penguin Society, I might have to get the Puffin one. One more for the shelf.
What a gem! Woodcock’s illustration alone is stunning. I found an affordable $10 copy online and wasted no time in placing an order. Thanks for sharing another wonderful book.
PS, I think three of anything is a collection!
Well if 3 of something is a collection then I have more collections than I should. Glad you found a copy, enjoy!
We’ve got Drawn Direct to the Plate, which is the PenguinSoc book about the Picture Puffins. It’s a bit of an odd mishmash – mostly it’s a history, but sometimes it thinks it’s a book about collectibles – but it’s still worth the price of admission I think.
OK, two votes for that book. I shall purchase and peruse.
So are you going to let on what your ceiling is?
For the record I think the purchase of a second thing chosen or sought out because it is akin to something you already own is tantamount to a collection. Using that as a measure, how many collections do you have now?
My ceiling has just been raised, darn it. Certainly in to 2 figures.
And if we’re measuring 2 of something for a collection, I’m in denial. Big denial.
Why shouldn’t I have those Picture Puffins? Those King Penguins? Those 35mm film cameras? Those dainty cups? The entire ouevre of that nice Mr Wodehouse ……….
alright it’s a bit of a problem storage-wise
Dainty cups? Do tell!
I’ve got to say I’ve got a bit of a thing for old tea cups. You can pick them up for next to nothing on ebay for some reason and there’s something about the colours, the patterns, the fragility …….. I’m not sure what it is but I like them a lot.
Here’s a set of photos of one of my collection – I think I need to do some shots of all of them maybe as a bit of a collection too
My ceiling for the Picture Puffins is £5 – but there are a couple of exceptions. That nice Mr. Bawden’s book I’d pay more for (but not as much as lots of other people it seems) and some others I’d pay quite bit for too, but the vast majority you can get if you wait (and in pretty tasty condition too) for quite a bit less than a fiver. As I’m VERY sad I can tell you that the average cost of the 100+ I have is about £3.60 including the postage ……
100+ ?? They published that many? Yikes, I have a way to go then.
Yup there’s 120 that people seem to collect – I’m not sure of they’re the ones that Noel Carrington edited or what. There’s a handy reference on the Stella and Rose website http://bit.ly/gjZYTY which gives you images of the covers. Some of the dates are wrong strangely but it’s a good quick reference. There are some that are mysteriously difficult to get within my budget – Animals of Australia, Fish and Fishing, there seems no logical reason why they should be hard to get hold of but they are! Others, it’s very obvious, desirable illustrators or ones that most people would have cut up – it’s a no brainer. But SR Badmin did three beautiful books for them, and one never seems to appear within my limit whereas the other two are relatively common. The two I have got are in my top ten – maybe my top five.
If you’re interested in the nitty gritty of production of them there’s another Penguin collector’s book you might like “A Checklist of the Puffin Picture Books and Related Series” gives chapter and verse and is very interesting
I will look up the Checklist book. Not that I should be encouraged, as I am still in denial about collecting the books in the first place!
I’m in denial too and actively being discouraged …… but bits and bobs seem to be creeping in, there are quite a few more King Penguins than a few weeks ago and I’ve been snagging books by Ronald Searle if they turn up at the right price