Virtual Children's Books Exhibits


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On the Boardwalk


12.  Clifton Bingham.
George Henry Thompson, illustrator.
The Animals’ Trip to the Sea: Being a True and Veracious History of the Eventful Voyage of the S. S. “Crocodile” from Nowhere in Particular to Anywhere in General.
London/ New York: Ernest Nister/ E. P. Dutton & Co., [1905].

This picture book describing a motley group of animals’ day trip to the seaside was the first in a series of highly successful collaborations between Bingham and the illustrator George Henry Thompson (1853-1953).

Thompson’s illustration of a mortified hippo suggests that body anxiety has plagued people as soon as bathing suits became relatively commonplace. The illustrations were also issued as sets of postcards, which were as popular as the books. Because Thompson did not always receive credit on the title pages of the books he illustrated, he is not an especially well-known figure. However, he deserves to be recognized as one of the more amusing children’s book illustrators of the late Victorian and Edwardian period.

There is an interesting article about Thompson in Dawn and Peter Cope’s Postcards from the Nursery: The Illustrators of Children’s Books and Postcards 1900-1950 (London: New Cavendish Books, 2000).