GAZE, Harold (1884 - 1963)
The Mite Merry Series [Complete] : The SImple Jaggajay; The Chewg-um-blewg-um; The Billabonga Bird
A fine complete set of Harold Gaze’s most famous and enchanting works, the complete Mite Merry series.
The Billabonga Bird. Melbourne : Whitcombe & Tombs, 1919. Quarto, illustrated card wrappers, string-bound (now perished), 30pp (mildly foxed), 3 tipped-in plates (2 colour, one monochrome), black and white line drawings.The adventures of an imaginary bird, a bush fairy and their bush-elf friends and other creatures, in rhyming verse. Muir 2698
The Chewg-um-blewg-um. Melbourne : Whitcombe & Tombs, 1919. 4to, illustrated card wrappers (a little edge-wear), string-bound (now perished), 30pp, 3 tipped-in colour plates, black and white line drawings. The adventures of a gum-leaf chewing koala, a gum-nut girl and a billabong bird, in rhyming verse. Muir 2699
The simple Jaggajay. Melbourne : Whitcombe & Tombs, 1919. Quarto, illustrated card wrappers, ribbon-bound, 30pp (mildly foxed), 3 tipped-in plates (2 colour, one monochrome), black and white line drawings. The adventures of an imaginary bird, a gum-nut girl and their bush creature friends, in rhyming verse. Muir 2700
A very good set of rare and fragile publications. The three elements of the Mite Merry series are Gaze’s most inventive, surreal and creative books, described by historian Juliet O’Conor as ‘Anthropomorphism with an extreme fantasy make over’ (Bottersnikes and other lost things : A celebration of Australian Illustrated Children’s Books, Melbourne 2009, p. 196, illustrated).
Harold Gaze was born in New Zealand and studied at art school in London during the First World War, after which he moved to Melbourne where he wrote and illustrated a number of books for children. He later returned to London and settled in Pasadena, California in 1927 where he resided until his death, working with Disney and continuing to publish. Many of the details of Gaze’s life have proven elusive to researchers but his unique and creative children’s stories and imagery remain delightful and sought after today.