Friday, May 30, 2014

Arty Farty Friday ~ Mabel Lucie Attwell & Our Inner Child

 I'd like to caption the above, "I read the news today - Oh boy!"
Wandering away from painterly painters, painters starving in garrets, and painters tangled up in diverse romantic or emotional muddles, here's someone completely different.
Mabel Lucie Attwell. I don't know how well she was known in the USA. Husband didn't recognise her name. Even in the UK, nowadays, she mightn't be easily remembered. My generation, the "War Babies", the only generation still around who'd remember her clearly, are tending to sink slowly in the west. Mabel Lucie Attwell is probably better recognised, anywhere, if at all, by her whimsical style illustrations of chubby-faced cheeky children than by her name. Her heyday was in the 1920s, 30s and 40s, echoing on through the early 1950s.

I'm not a fan of "twee", and it has to be said, some of Mabel Lucie's postcard illustrations are painfully twee, and yet, there's also a wee bit of sly knowing in some of 'em, and that's what attracted her adult fans.

Mabel Lucie Attwell was born in London on 4 June 1879. She had a natural aptitude for drawing. From her youngest years she loved to draw pictures to illustrate the stories she'd dream up with one of her sisters. Her drawings sold easily, and in sufficient volume that by age 16 she was able to finance her art studies in college. She met her husband-to-be while studying, they married later and had three children, a girl and two boys. The little girl, Peggy, was Mabel Lucie's inspiration for her round-faced cherubic subjects.

There were several successful female illustrators of children's books around at the same time (there's a relevant post in my archives - here), but Mabel Lucie had something special - a winking cheekiness with appeal to adults. She illustrated books, posters, thousands - or millions - of postcards, advertising matter, calendars, magazine covers and illustrations/cartoons. Her pictures often whispered of the challenges and changes going on in the 20th century world of adults, but always with gentle humour.


In 1945 Mabel Lucie moved from London to Cornwall, in the far south-west of England, to live with her son Peter. She stayed in Cornwall until her death on 5th November 1964. As is stated in a piece about her work at World Collectors
"Still to this day products are licensed under her name and are just as sought after as the original pieces from the earlier part of the 20th Century, ensuring that her legacy lives on through the eyes of adults who are secretly still children inside."


Mabel Lucie Attwell was born in London on 4 June 1879. No time of birth is known, chart set for 12 noon. Moon and ascendant would not have been as shown.

Hmm. I don't have a whole lot to say about this chart, except that it's highly appropriate that Venus, planet of the arts, should be found in Cancer, sign of the home, of nurturing, family, and sentimentality. Her chubby wee ones all have round "moon-faces", and Cancer's ruler is....the Moon.

Mabel Lucie's natal Moon was somewhere in Sagittarius, a sign known for its optimism, an outlook that shines through all her little postcard messages. Moon was probably in opposition to her Gemini Sun, depending on time of birth - and forming a T-square to Jupiter (ruler of Sagittarius where her Moon is placed). In most charts this might indicate some ongoing challenges, but somehow, in this case I doubt perhaps her natal Moon was out of orb to form those aspects, or at least too far out to form them tightly enough to matter.


♥ Sonny ♥ said...

I love every photo you posted..

I think its very important to remember that we are still tiny tots inside.

I know I tend to demonstrate my terrible two's on occasion , giggle.

LB said...

Twilight ~ This artist's work seems familiar . . . like I've seen it on an old card (or postcard?) saved by a family member.

Before I looked at the chart you posted, I wondered if there might be a strong Gemini influence. Very interesting.:)

mike said...

Her paintings of babies are "cute"...her "Alice" and "Christmas in Fairyland" show she had artistic skills beyond "babies". I like her work...gentle and soothing somehow.

Your sidebar from Eugene Debs...the rich vs poor is an age-old dilemma. Debs was 70 when he died in 1926...always a socialist.

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ LOL! I know the feeling well!

LB ~ It'd be surprising if some of her many postcards hadn't ened up on this side of the pond. ;-)
I shall keep an eye opne for some the next time we trawl an antique/vintage store.

mike ~ Yes, she could compete on level ground with any of her book-illustrating peers.

Re Eugene Debs - I wish we could clone him - bless his caring heart!

R J Adams said...

The name was not familiar to me, but oh, the images brought back so many childhood memories.

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ I'm glad! I hope they were happy ones too! :-)