Thursday, February 2, 2023

Dust jacket of Ruth Manning-Sanders' "The Growing Trees"

I was happy to stumble across this new-to-me internet image of the dust jacket of Ruth Manning-Sanders' 1931 novel The Growing Trees. According to the UK bookseller, the very rare jacket is from the third Faber and Faber impression. 

My copy of this book is from the William & Morrow Company edition published in New York, also in 1931. It has no dust jacket. The novel, which I mentioned in passing in a 2016 post, is split into two parts: Nether Brook and Primrose Hill. This is the first paragraph:
"James Brock first experienced the joys and sorrows of a romantic attachment when he was tens years of age. It happened in the holidays, like most of events of importance in his life so far, and the object of his love was a Scotch farm girl of fourteen, called Margaret; who, with her long strands of bleached hair, and her deep-set blue eyes, reminded James of the picture of Rapunzel in the colored woodcuts in his big old edition of Grimm's Fairy Tales."
As I've noted before, Manning-Sanders was writing about fairy tales decades before she was penning her own retellings of fairy tales. In the first pages of The Growing Trees, there are also mentions of Red Riding Hood, the princess and the pea (and its feathered mattresses), Arabian Nights, and "riding to the accompaniment of silver bells like the queen of elfland."

The Faber and Faber dust jacket illustration, featuring a man and a young woman riding carousel horses, is signed Hookway Cowles. He got a lot of work with dust jackets and interior illustrations from the 1930s through 1950s; he has a listing on the Internet Speculative Fiction Database.

A 2020 post on The Folly Flaneuse provides some biographical information: Hookway Cowles lived from 1896 to 1987, and was the son of a Yorkshire clergyman. He was most famous for his work illustrating novels by H. Rider Haggard.

(The Folly Flaneuse is a wonderful and professional site that I'll have to dive into at some point. It describes itself as "rambles to, and ramblings about, follies and landscape buildings." Follies are expensive ornamental buildings with no practical purpose. They are often towers or mock ruins constructed in gardens or parks.)

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