your nightmare wants you?

December 4, 2008


This lovely illustration is from Animal Frolics (Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1937?). It goes with a short poem (The Nightmare) about the dangers of being greedy and feasting on strawberry jam and toasted cheese just before retiring. I think it is the best illustration in the book. The book has a selection of poems about animals with illustrations by a number of artists. I liked this one anyway, partly because it has humorous associations for me with the rather frightening Mervyn Peake illustration from “Ride a Cock-Horse” which is also meant to be for children (!). But it wasn’t until I scanned it in and realised there was a signature in the top right hand corner that I got a bit more interested in it.


It appears (younger readers please correct my faltering eyesight) to be signed by Alfred Leete. Who he? He is the self taught illustrator who provided the British with one of the most iconic and oft repeated/imitated images: that of Lord Kitchener declaiming “Your Country Wants You” (originally published on the cover of the magazine London Opinion and later amended and used as a poster in World War 1). He is the James Montgomery Flagg of Britain. Except that most of Leete’s later work was humorous.






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