# 21056

GIBBS, May (1877-1969), et al.

[MAY GIBBS]. Play-time tales. A picture story-book for little folks

  • Sold

With a large number of pictures in colour and in black-and-white. London, New York, Toronto and Melbourne : Cassell and Company Ltd, [1914-1919]. Quarto, glazed pictorial boards (with illustration by Agnes Richardson), cloth spine, edges rubbed, advertisements to endpapers, colour frontispiece, title page in black and red, pp. [64], numerous illustrations including 10 colour plates. Stories and poems for children by Eveline M. Williams, Gladys Davidson, Ada Leonora Harris, Agnes M. Miall, Nancy M. Hayes, Lucy Laing, Fay Inchfawn, Amy Grey, Dorothea Moore, W. Gurney Benham, Ethel Talbot, Daisy Wilson-Gunn, Violet M. Methley, Mrs. Albert G. Latham, Winifred Thompson, Marian Wood, Wood Simpson, Olaf Baker, and Sheila E. Braine illustrated by artists such as Frank Gillett, E. H. Stewart, Agnes Stringer, E. Dorothy Rees, John Hassall, Harry Rountree, Hilda Cowham, Rosa C. Petherick et al. The story ‘Mops and Flops’ about two ‘dearest doggies’ by Lilian Gask is illustrated with a black and white illustration by May Gibbs.

Cecilia May Gibbs remains one of Australia’s most beloved children’s authors and illustrators. Born in Kent in 1877, the family emigrated to Australia in the 1880s, living first in South Australia and then Western Australia. May (as she was known) studied drawing at the Art Gallery fo Western Australia and had her first work published in the Christmas edition of the W.A. Bulletin, 1889. In early 1900 May Gibbs made the first of a number of trips to the U.K. to study art, where she studied under Augustus John amongst others, and had a number of illustrated articles published in West Australian newspapers. At the age of thirty-two, Gibbs embarked on a final trip to London in November 1909, staying until 1913, during which time she secured a publisher George G. Harrap to publish her first book About Us (1912). Upon her return to Australia at the time of the outbreak of the First World War, Gibbs began illustrating her famous gumnut babies series of books, the first major title Snugglepot and Cuddlepie being published in 1918. A preliminary advertisement for the “Little Folks” Home, Bexhill, under the patronage of Brigadier-General the Earl of Shaftesbury allows us to date the publication to the war years (Shaftesbury holding this rank between August 1914 and March 1919 (interestingly, Shaftesbury served as Aide-de-Camp to the Governor of Victoria, Lord Brassey, from 1895 – 1899).

Play-time tales is a charming compendium of children’s tales by various authors with commissioned illustrations by different artists. The inclusion of a signed illustration by one of Australia’s most loved artists appears to have escaped the bibliographers and scholars. A fine copy of this rare and charming work, one of the first books illustrated by May Gibbs.

Not in Muir, not recorded on Trove.

Two copies recorded on WorldCat (British Library, University of Cambridge)