1891 – Poor Charley

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“Poor Charley”, by Harrison Weir, is a full page book plate image, taken from one of the books from the “Our Humble Friends” series, written by Dr Gordon Stables. This image is from the book “Our Humble Friends – of Wood and Field”, published in 1892, by Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co Ltd of London. A master story-teller, Stables enjoyed a long friendship with Weir, who illustrated a number of his children’s books. Stables is also renown for his devotion to “caravaning” and was widely publicized travelling around the United Kingdom in his caravan, which would today be termed a “recreational vehicle” or RV. In those days, it was pulled by a team of horses.

A doctor with Royal Navy ties, he was equally a supporter of kindness to animals, and this series of books is in fact dedicated to “Her Grace, the Duchess of Portland”, a well-known supporter of animal rights, alongside the Baroness Coutts. The Duchess had a strong interest in the welfare of birds, and in 1891 became the first, and longest-serving, president of the Society for the Protection of Birds, a position which she held until her death. She was likewise active on behalf of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, serving as vice-president and president of the ladies’ committee.

This drawing is from Weir’s latter years, and is much more fluid in style than his earlier work. His illustrations for the books by Edith Carrington, which also date from this period, are similar. This illustration accompanies a Chapter entitled “The Cruelties of Sport” and bemoans the sport of Fox and Deer Hunting in particular.

Prints currently available in both A4 and A3 sizing options.

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Detail: Poor Charley, by Harrison Weir       Book Cover

Detail: 1891 – Poor Charley                  Book Cover: Our Humble Friends of Wood and Field, by Dr Gordon Stables

Detail: Poor Charley, by Harrison Weir       Detail: Poor Charley, by Harrison Weir

Details: 1891 – Poor Charley                                                (Last detail, with artist’s signature in plate)

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