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Return to the nursery with Attwell’s easel

21 January 2003Written by ATG Reporter

The easel that was used to create some of the most celebrated nursery images of the 20th century will be going under the hammer later on this month.

Mabel Lucie Attwell’s easel, handed down through her family, has been consigned to Henry Aldridge and Sons of Devizes, Wiltshire on January 25 by her grandson and great granddaughter. With it will be an unseen oil painting, Will you come down, in which she depicts a classic example of her angelic blonde, curly-haired babes playing before a full moon.

Attwell became a household name in the 1920s and her illustrations can be found not only in print and paint, but also on a collection of Shelley nursery china.

Born in 1879, in the East End of London, Attwell drew from an early age and attended various art schools and colleges around London in her teens. Attwell was married in 1908, but it was not until her husband returned home disabled from the First World War that she used her illustrations as a way of supporting her family. As well as writing and illustrating her own children’s books, Attwell was commissioned to illustrate works by Lewis Carroll, Hans Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, giving new life to characters such as Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan.

Attwell’s whimsical and romantic style of drawing has inspired a generation of illustrators; she has become famous for her individual and passionate drawing of children which is demonstrated in the oil painting for sale here. Her mass appeal has led to her work becoming highly collectable. The fact that the two items on offer here are fresh to the market should help them to attract a great deal of interest.

The easel is estimated at £2000-3000, but this is thought to be a conservative price especially as a photograph of Mabel using the easel to paint a portrait of her son, who is also captured in the photo, is included. The oil painting is estimated at £4000-6000.

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Written by

ATG Reporter

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