'The Cheats' appeared in the 1914 magazine, 'The Lone Hand' and is the first known illustration by Dorothy Wall. The grotesque bush figures would appear, in one guise or another, in many of Wall's later works.
The images below are all from the one book (linked in the commentary)
Dorothy Wall (1894-1942) completed some artistic training in her native New Zealand before emigrating to Australia in 1914 where she quickly obtained work as a commercial graphic artist. It is no little coincidence that another contemporary childrens book artist, the more famous May Gibbs, had also come to Australia at about the same time. Gibbs' work at least partly inspired Wall (and others) to move from the calendar, card and advertising industry into children's book illustration.
Wall first gained some success in 1920 when she released 'The Story of Tommy Bear and the Zookies' -- an early koala bear model for her later work and featuring characters similar to Gibbs' gumnut babies -- and provided the illustrations for JJ Hall's 'The Crystal Bowl'. But it would be another decade of commercial graphic work before the Blinky Bill series catapulted Wall to national attention.
The use of the image of a koala in humorous prints or children's books had been pioneered, so to speak, by Norman Lindsay and his brother Lionel, in the first couple of decades of the 20th century. When Wall's 'Blinky Bill' first appeared in 1933, featuring the mischievous title character with friends, Splodge the kangaroo, Flap the platypus and Wombo the wombat and touching on environmental issues, it appealed to a new generation of children.
"[Wall] featured Blinky Bill in a series of her own books, including Blinky Bill: The Quaint Little Australian, Blinky Bill Grows Up, and Blinky Bill and Nutsy. The books are considered quintessential Australian children's classics, and have never been out of print in Australia."Sadly, Wall suffered from depression and experienced financial difficulties, despite the incredible success that the Blinky Bill series achieved. The shortage of paper during the war stymied Wall's attempts to interest the major newspapers in her comic strip version of Blinky Bill and she died in Sydney in 1942 from pneumonia, a week after her forty eighth birthday.
Mouse over the images for the caption/book titles.
- This post is essentially a continuation of the Antipodean Fantasy entry from June.
- Again, the majority of these images were scanned from a compilation book that I don't have with me now. I'm fairly sure it was: 'A Golden Age: Visions of Fantasy : Australia's Fantasy Illustrators : Their Lives and Works' by R Holden, 1993.
- The last half dozen or so images in the sampling above come from 'Blinky Bill: The Quaint Little Australian', 1933 at the National Library of Australia.
- Wikipedia: Dorothy Wall + Blinky Bill.
- There's a few more images in the Flickr set.
- Previously in general: kids / Australia.
- Amazon: Books by Dorothy Wall.