Peter and Wendy, Dor and Peggy

Friday 22 March 2013

Earlier this month, Michael Sporn posted scans of a curious Disney book, a 1953 adaptation of Peter Pan published by Brockhampton Press in a semi-strip format used by them for a number of characters including Bruin, aka Rasmus Klump. What makes the book notable is that it follows JM Barrie’s story more closely than the Disney film, and so provides images rendered in the Disney style of episodes not included in the animated feature.

Unusual, but not unique as Brockhampton Press published at least one other Peter Pan tie-in book that was similarly more faithful to Barrie than Disney. The scans in this post are of another 1953 book, an edition of JM Barrie’s novelisation of Peter Pan and Wendy, abridged by May Byron and illustrated according to the model of the Disney film. I don’t think it’s the same illustrator as did the other Brockhampton Press book, as these drawing seems of a much higher standard. I would guess that the other illustrator had sight of at least some of these drawings to work from though, particularly the elegantly rendered one of the Never-Bird’s nest at the end of this post.

This book originally belonged to my mother, Dor. She turned ten the year it was published. Most of the illustrations are line drawings, and she carefully coloured several of them. When my daughter Peggy saw the book a couple of years ago, she asked if she could colour in some of the illustrations that were still untouched.

The book ends with Wendy growing too old to fly back to Never-Land with Peter, and her place being taken first by her daughter Jane, and then by her grand-daughter Margaret. Dor didn’t have a daughter, and died fifteen years before her grand-daughter was born, so I was very happy for them to meet in the pages of this book. I’m now no longer sure in some cases who coloured which drawing.

This is just a small selection of the images. The book was heavily illustrated, and the artist seemed someone with a strong sense of the requirements of book illustration as distinct from animation.

Any resemblance between this image and the title page of Sadie the Air Mail Pilot is unlikely to be a coincidence.

A Disney Wendy House, not seen in the Disney film.

Finally, here is the Never-Bird’s nest. This hasn’t been coloured in, so I was able to make a nice clean scan of it.

The book is copyright © 1953 Walt Disney.