1924 ‘First Sets’ for Carnaby Prints (animal sketches); self-published but printed by Lovejoy & Son in Holborn; dedicated to her Mother. The cost was 10p or 3/6d for a coloured version. Silvia designed the marbled cover with the encouragement of Ralph Hodgson. He made her buy old books to explore patterns, borders and typeface. She later wrote that the title came about because (for some unknown reason) he thought that ‘carnaby suited the artist.

1925 Portraits in the London Zoo, published by GP Putnam & Sons; dedicated to Ralph Hodgson. On 20th December, Putnam Books placed an advertisement in The Observer for several books, including Silvia’s. It quotes an extract from the Times Literary Supplement saying ‘The characterisation is delightful; the sketches are admirable studies in technique and psychology; the descriptive notes combine several kinds of information’.  In separate publicity they state that they have endeavoured to produce ‘a volume not only of artistic value but of permanent worth.  To preserve the strength and clearness of the artist’s line, the line work has been printed by letterpress from line blocks, and the colour work has been treated by lithography, a method which successfully reproduces the delicate water-colour washes which the artist employs.  We are indebted to The Chiswick Press for the letterpress, while Messrs. Charles Wittingham & Griggs were the lithographers.’

See also Correspondence to Muriel Hodgson – Second Theme, Zoo Portraits.

1928-32 ‘Zoo Correspondent’ for the Manchester Guardian. She looked upon James Bone, the ‘witty’ London Editor of the the paper, as her trainer. She would take her drawings to him in Fleet Street and he would ‘critique’ them. She was known as ‘the Animal Artist’ and also wrote for The Sphere.

1946 Alone and Loitering published by Peter Davis; A travel journal dedicated to her brother. There is a review by Compton MacKenzie who describes Silvia as a ‘superlatively good raconteuse’. It is a good description; however, when reading some of her anecdotes, I think to myself that, rather than reading them, I would prefer to hear her recounting these stories, maybe after a good meal!

1947 Alone and Loitering an edition, published by The Travel Book Club, with just 8 monochrome drawings. According to the book cover, the Club had over 7,000 members who, rather than a membership fee, paid a discounted price of 3/6d for each purchased book. It was based at 121 Charing Cross Road and run apparently under the auspices of Foyles.

1950 Journey to Yesterday published by Peter Davis; a ‘miscellany’ of travel and family anecdotes, dedicated to Riette Lamington (her husband’s first cousin). On the flysheet, the ‘narrator’ is described as observant, unconventional and witty… with a sensitive and original mind. But towards the end, her narrative becomes quite disjointed and her stories less engaging, as though she is trying to fill the pages.

Peter Davis Publishing Ltd

Peter Davis was one of 5 sons but his parents both sadly died when he was young.  J M Barrie became his guardian and based the Peter Pan character on young Peter who was dogged throughout his life by this connection.  He was awarded the Military Cross in WW1 and later married one of Athole’s close friends.   He set up his publishing house in 1926.  William Heinemann Ltd took over a majority interest in 1937 which, forty years later, was fully incorporated into Heinemann.   The archives and copyright are now held by Penguin Random House, Archive.


Some Background Reading:


Aldrich, Richard J                 The Faraway War*London: Doubleday2005
Bagnold, EnidAutobiographyLondon: Century1985
Cecil, Hugo & MirabelClever HeartsLondon: Gollancz1990
Evans, SianQueen BeesCroydon: Two Roads2016
Friend, AndyRavilious & Co*London: Thames & Hudson2017
Harding, JohnDreaming of Babylon*London: Greenwich Exchange2018
Harris, AlexandraRomantic ModernsLondon: Thames & Hudson2015
Holroyd, MichaelAugustus John*London: Vintage 1997
Lago, M & Beckson, K (Eds)Max & WillLondon: John Murray1975
Lawrence, SimonDunbar Hay*Upper Denby: Fleece Press2016
Swinnerton, FrankGeorgian Literary SceneLondon: Hutchinson & Co1969
Trant, CarolynVoyaging OutLondon: Thames & Hudson2019
Wearing J PThe London Stage, Volume 3* 1910-1919Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield2013


*Books in which either Silvia or Athole are mentioned