The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful, pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
Edward Lear’s 1871 poem has been intriguing children for nearly 150 years. It was also the inspiration for the English greeting card pictured above. The illustration is by Lynton Lamb (1907-1977), an interesting and accomplished English artist. Born in India, the son of a reverend, Lamb was educated in England, including at the Central School of Arts & Crafts. He is well-known for his book jacket illustrations, poster work, postage stamp designs, architectural decorations and the artistic embellishments in the interiors of passenger ships. During World War II, Lamb designed camouflage for the Royal Army and, after the war, designed the binding on the Bible used in Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.
Edward Lear (1812-1888), a poet and illustrator himself, was a popular children’s writer known for his nonsensical poetry and prose. Lear’s absurd wit and clever word-smithing took flight in such books as Nonsense Songs (1871) and Laughable Lyrics (1877). Prior to that, he published a multi-volume collection titled The Illustrated Travels of a Landscape Painter which described his extensive travels through Europe and Asia. He set twelve of Tennyson’s poems to music and named his beloved home in San Remo (on the Italian Riviera) “Villa Tennyson.” Lear never found a life partner though he developed many intense obsessions with various men—none of which were reciprocated.
Please come into the shop to see the full range of newly-received greeting cards from England as well as Lynton Lamb’s “Owl and the Pussy-cat.”
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