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Stella & Rose's Books

Specialists in Rare & collectable books

Cecil Aldin

Cecil Aldin became a household name known for his paintings in the late 1800's. He produced a diversity of dog portraits andsporting scenes for which he had a steady flow of admirers. Less well known are his posters, chalk drawings of inns, manor houses, and cathedrals, superb equestrian pastels and, pencil & wash sketches of the countryside.

Born on 28th April 1870 in Slough, son of Charles Aldin, a builder, and his wife, Sarah. He was a wiry red-haired boy who started sketching by 6 years of age. His early drawings had a recurring theme of a rider being thrown from a horse, expressing his developing sense of humour.

Lawson Wood

When tidying along the shelves in the Annuals section at Rose's books I find that the shelf below the 'Girl' annuals and above the 'Greyfriars Holiday' annuals always seems to take a little longer. The reason? This is the shelf where the Gran'Pop Annuals live and I can't resist a peep at the illustrations within. I have to smile every time I see an illustration of the charming ape family; I love the detail, from the expressions on the apes' faces to the human characteristics shown in the subject matter. As I enjoy these illustrations so much I decided, via the internet, to find out a little more about their creator - Lawson Wood.

Jacqueline Wilson

"A brilliant writer of wit and subtlety whose stories are never patronising and often complex and many-layered" (The Times)

"She has a rare gift for writing lightly and amusingly about emotional issues" (Bookseller)

"She's so good, it's exhilarating" (Philip Pullman, Guardian)

Only one modern children's author could be worthy of such praise - Jacqueline Wilson!

The author of over 80 books, nearly all of which have been translated into more than 30 languages, Jacqueline Wilson has sold over 20 million copies in her lengthy and continuing career. In 2002 she was awarded the prestigious OBE for Services to Literacy in Schools. However, the author is no stranger to awards, having been winner of theChildren's Book of the Year, winner of the Guardian Children's Fiction Award, highly recommended for the Carnegie Medal, winner of the Smarties Prize, three times winner of the Red House Children's Book Award, and also, the ultimate accolade, winner of the Children's Laureateship for 2005-2007. 

Percy F. Westerman

Is he the successor to G.A. Henty or the forerunner to W.E. Johns? Percy F. Westerman has been described as both and we shall look at why in the following paragraphs. Although not as well-known as Henty or Johns, Westerman was a highly prolific and successful author, writing 174 novels and contributing to many other publications. These included The CaptainMagazine, The Scout, Boy's Own Paper, Modern Boy, and, I suspect, many as yet uncollected publications, as well as short story publications such as the Story Papers of D.C. Thomson which do not usually credit author.

Percy Francis Westerman was born in 1876. His father was a clerk in the Portsmouth Naval Dockyard and his family was steeped in Navy connections. Percy's ambition was to take a full part in the Royal Navy but this was never to be as with poor eyesight he could not pass the compulsory physical examination. To compensate for this he spent all his free time sailing along the coast and rivers of the West Country - indeed his first writings, published in yachting magazines, were about these trips.

H.G. Wells

The world famous author of some of our favourite science fiction novels, War Of The Worlds, The Invisible Man, The Time Machine but there is just so much more to the man.

Herbert George Wells was born in Bromley, Kent in 1866, where his father was a housekeeper and a professional cricketer, and his mother a part time housekeeper at the Uppark Estate. In his early childhood Wells developed a love of literature and could often be found studying books in the library. After his father’s business failed, he became, along with his brothers, an apprentice to a draper.

In 1893 Wells became a pupil/teacher at Midhurst Grammar School and obtained a scholarship to the normal school of Science in London. At the Normal school he studied biology under T.H. Huxley, but never managed to complete his studies, leaving in 1887 when his interest faltered. After teaching at private schools for 4 years he finally obtained his degree in 1890. In following year he married his cousin Isabel, and by 1893 became a full time writer.

Ivor Waters

Ivor Waters - for us, working here at Stella books, a familiar name among the thousands of books lining the shelves. Born in Chepstow in 1907, Harry Ivor Waters lived at 41 Hardwick Avenue. His family have roots in Chepstow going back to the late 1600s, at least. Perhaps it was only natural that he had a deep interest in all things pertaining to the history of Chepstow and produced many booklets and books about the area.

In the late 1920s Ivor won a poetry prize run by Britannia Magazine and used the prize money to finance foreign holidays. He studied Spanish and French at degree level, becoming so successful in Spanish that the Spanish Government presented him with a book! The war years were spent with service in Intelligence where his language skills proved to be immensely useful.

Martin Waddell

You might not have heard of Martin Waddell. In fact, even if you do know of him, you might think that he is far too new an author to have made any impact on the world of children’s literature. You would be mistaken!

Born on April 10th, 1941 in the city of Belfast, Waddell’s first night of life was spent under a metal-topped table sheltering from bombs during the Second World War. His childhood was spent in Belfast during a period of political unrest. This was to have a deep impact on the author.

Martin Waddell’s first ambition in life was to become a professional footballer. However, this was not to be and his next career choice was to be an author. Initially, Waddell intended to write adult fiction, much of which was influenced by his background and surroundings. A lot of his work was written under the pseudonym of Catherine Sefton. The name Martin Waddell was kept for books he described as ‘for amusement only’. However, his forte was writing for children.

Alison Uttley

Alison Uttley is probably best known for her Little Grey Rabbit books written for children. However, during her very successful career she wrote about 120 books on various subjects for children and adults. Her varied interests in dreams, time travel and country matters provided material for her writings, often revealing a woman of both sensitivity and perception.

Today her books are as much loved as they ever have been and remain popular to both adults and children. They have been reprinted on numerous occasions and the values of the first editions in particular have steadily risen in the last decade.

Alison was born in Derbyshire on 17th December 1884. She was christened Alice Jane Taylor, adopting the name Alison upon publication of her first book. Alison spent her childhood living on her parent’s farm. Life here was happy and secure and allowed her to develop a love of the countryside around her. Until the age of 7 Alison was taught at home by her mother. She then went to Lea Board School at Holloway about 2 miles from her home.

Derek Tangye

Derek Tangye (1912-1996) was a very well known author who lived in Cornwall for the most part of his life from the 1950s onwards. He wrote more than twenty books which became known as the Minack Chronicles - all about life on a flower farm situated between Penzance and Land's End.

The book I read was 'The Way to Minack'. I was hoping it would tell me about how he and his wife, Jeannie, came to be at 'Minack', a quiet cottage in a isolated spot of Cornwall. However, this book is an autobiography (as are all the Minack chronicles) which leads up to the end of his time in London, just before moving to Minack. Derek had never been away from Minack in fourteen years and a friend planted seeds of doubt by asking 'What do you miss?' (about London). So he and Jeannie take a trip to London to remind themselves of why they left in the first place.

E.H. Shepard

E.H. SHEPARD Born on the 10th of December 1879, in St. John's Wood, at No. 55 Springfield Road. Ernest Howard Shepard was the youngest of three children.

In his first volume of his memoirs, 'Drawn from Memory', Shepard vividly recounts memories of his early life, reinforcing some of the more memorable moments with illustrations. An example of this is featured below. Septimus (the horse) is pictured in the background, a gift to Shepard from his 'Godmother-Aunt'. He thought that there must have been some "divine influence" leading his Aunt "away from the more useful gifts" and "that the Angel Garbriel disguised as the shop walker in Mr. James Shoolbred's Store, has led her to Septimus".

Peter Scott

The late Peter Scott, son of the famous polar explorer Captain Robert Scott, was a man of many and varied talents. He was probably most famous as a conservationist - he established the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) in 1946 and later co-founded the World Wildlife Fund. He was also an accomplished sportsman, winning an Olympic Bronze Medal for solo dinghy sailing, and holding the title of British Open Gliding Champion, as well as being a skilled ice skater.

His atmospheric wildfowl paintings are well known, and he was author and illustrator of numerous books in addition to making appearances on television and radio.

 Books by Peter Scott.

Peter Scott wrote and illustrated books including 'Wild Chorus', 'Morning Flight', 'A Thousand Geese', 'Wild Geese and Eskimos', and his autobiography 'The Eye of the Wind', plus many more. He also illustrated an edition of Paul Gallico's 'The Snow Goose', and his pictures have featured regularly in the WWT's annual publication 'Wildfowl'. 

Malcolm Saville

British author Leonard Malcolm Saville was born on the 21st February 1901 in Hastings, Sussex. Sent away to boarding school at the age of nine, he received the majority of his education at the Richmond Hill School in Surrey.

On leaving school at the age of 16, he stepped into the world of the book trade, when he started work for the Oxford University Press where he found books to fulfill booksellers' orders. After a short stay at Cassell and Company in their publicity department, he began work for The Amalgamated Press in London in the same post, but was later promoted to Sales Promotion Manager.

The Savery Sisters - Children of the vicarage

A little over one hundred years ago the Savery sisters, Winifred, Doreen, Christine, Phyllis, and Irene, posed for a seaside snapshot.  Their father, Rev. John Manly Savery, had exchanged livings at that time, leaving the flowering countryside of Froxfield in Wiltshire for a Birmingham parish, where there was a sooty garden but better schools and, presumably, an extra shilling or two at month's end.

Left: The Savery sisters, Winifred, Doreen, Christine, Phyllis, and Irene, as neatly haloed as a fond parent could wish (about 1906)

Even so, times were hard, and the oldest daughter, Winifred, wrote an unpublished account of how the fire was set ablaze in the hearth and the girls dressed in church finery for a visit from the bishop's wife.  When the visitor sent word that she would not be there, the fire was raked out to save coal, the Sunday dresses were hung up again, and a special treat (oranges to be sucked through sugar cubes) was distributed. Inevitably, the distinguished visitor arrived after all to be greeted by sticky girls in a chilly parlour!

Frank Richards - The Most prolific children's story writer ever!

I have often thought that the question 'Who is the most prolific writer of children's fiction?' would make an excellent question for televised quizzes. I can imagine 'Who wants to be a millionaire?' providing three good possible answers plus the obligatory outsider to beguile the competitor, eager to grab the £1,000,000 prize: Enid Blyton, W.E.Johns, Roald Dahl would be the obvious frontrunners.

Or perhaps University Challenge could offer this starter for ten: 'Which prolific writer of children's fiction's name never appeared on any of his works?' The answer is the man the fiftieth anniversary of whose death passed almost uncelebrated last Christmas Eve, Charles St-John Hamilton. He never wrote under that name, preferring a plethora of pseudonyms, the most common of which was Frank Richards of Billy Bunter fame.

Miss Read

Miss Read in her beautifully bucolic books continues in the genre started by Mrs. Gaskell's Cranford in the early nineteenth century and continued by Flora Thompson with Lark Rise at the end of the nineteenth and the very beginnings of the twentieth century. The tittle-tattle and petty politics of village life after the second world war are deliciously documented.

The residents of Cranford worried over the new railway altering their way of life, so too, the residents of Fairacre worry that the new housing estate will alter theirs.

Did the Golden Days of Miss Read's books really exist? Probably not but it is perhaps our desire to believe that they did that has driven the immense popularity of the stories as we search for those gentle times.

Beatrix Potter

Helen Beatrix Potter was born in London in 1866. Her parents were prosperous but severe and Beatrix had a lonely childhood until the birth of her brother Bertram five years later.

The highlights of her early years were annual trips to Scotland and the Lake District where her eyes were first opened to the beauty of the natural world. Beatrix collected every flower, insect or animal she could find. She often returned home laden with concealed toadstools, snakeskins, beetles, even dead hedgehogs and birds! The living creatures she collected would be housed in boxes and tins, the dead ones skinned and boiled so she could study their anatomy.

She drew everything - pressed flowers, fungi, skeletons of field mice, snails reared in a flower pot and mice in a cardboard box. She kept a rabbit who spent most of his time curled up in front of the fire, a parrot cage full of bats and a hedgehog named Tiggy who drank from a dolls' cup! Her study of botany and biology was such that, had she not become a writer she would most likely have been an eminent scientist.

C.S. Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia

Everybody has heard of "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe". But what though of the other 6 books which make up The Chronicles of Narnia?

I for one have only ever read "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" which I thoroughly enjoyed. But having heard so many good things about the rest of the series I was compelled to do a little research into the stories and find out some more about the author as well.

Clive Staples Lewis (or Jack Lewis as he liked to be called) was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in November 1898. He was the second born to Albert James Lewis (1863-1929) and Flora Augusta Hamilton Lewis (1862-1908). His older brother Warren was born in June 1895. Lewis enjoyed a pleasant early childhood spent in their family home. Unfortunately this happy time was soon to end when his mother became ill and died of cancer in 1908.

Flora Klickmann

Whilst there is one obvious advantage to 'working' in a bookshop, here at Tintern we have another. The River Wye flows past the shop just a roads width away. At high tide, for the tide has an average rise and fall of approximately 20 feet, the water appears to be an extension of the road and sometimes the road an extension of the river, which makes for an interesting and varied life.

The river is tidal up as far as Brockweir, about a mile away. It was at this point that they used to embark the prisoners who were to be transported to Australia.

The village of Brockweir appears very quiet and sleepy, a place that time could be said to have passed by. It is difficult to imagine that in the first half of the twentieth century it was as famous as the fictional Ambridge (home of BBC Radio 4's Archer family) is today. Brockweir was where Flora Klickmann wrote the 'Flower Patch' stories.

A Sheep In Wolf's Clothing

The Livestock Guarding Dog is a member of the pastoral breed of dogs, but unlike many dogs in this group, it doesn’t do any herding!

Its main role is to protect the herd or flock from predators and they do this by becoming a member of the herd or flock itself. They are able to do this as they are bonded to the herd from an early age and watch for predators from within the group.

Many of the Livestock Guarding dogs today can trace their ancestry back to the Guardian dogs of the ancient Greek tribe of Molossians whose dogs were used to watch over their animals and livestock.

Rudyard Kipling

A child of the Raj, a prolific author who received the Nobel Prize for Literature, and whose face appeared on the cover of Time magazine. Of course, we are talking about Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) whose work may have divided opinions but has remained hugely significant.

Born in Bombay, Kipling spent his earliest years surrounded by the exotic sights and sounds of the Raj, enjoying visits to crowded bazaars and listening to Indian nursery rhymes. This idyllic life was to come to an end at the age of five when his parents sent him, together with his younger sister, to be educated in England. Living with an adoptive couple, Captain Holloway and his wife, it was a deeply unhappy time for Kipling who missed the excitement of Indian culture. He was cruelly treated by Holloway's wife in particular, and he later referred to the place as the 'House of Desolation'.