Home For Dinner?

In my post ‘Not Done With Pickwick’ I featured Frank Reynolds’s colour plates from Hodder & Stoughton’s publication. For a similar reason I scanned a batch of this artist’s work on ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’.

My copy is the limited edition of 1913, signed by the artist: No. 112 of 350. This is not what booksellers would call a fine example.

Although it is vellum bound, it lacks its silk ties and is rather grubby and a bit warped on the outside. These end-papers would probably have been repeated at the back of the book, but seem to have been replaced by blank sheets at a later date. The illustrations are pristine and remain protected by the original tissue.










Frank Reynolds’s exquisite paintings speak for themselves. Clicking on each of these individual illustrations will reveal the lines of text to which they apply.

I paused here so that we could go for a forest drive, and will take up the task again tomorrow.

We began with a visit to Shallowmead Garden Centre where Jackie had seen an owl on her last visit that she could not resist. She just had to go back and buy it. For some reason she came out of the shop with three.

Cattle on the road slightly impeded our departure from Norleywood.

Several calves crossed a stream to join the adults and they all set off down the road, making me hope any driver coming round the bend would have their wits about them.

Donkeys on the road approaching East End tempted me out of the car.

This enabled me to investigate the woodland with its reflective pools;

its mossy banks, fallen trees, and fungus on a mossy stump.

Bare branches were silhouetted against the changing skies;

catkins swung from others.

While I was occupied with this, Jackie noticed that the donkeys may have been returning home for dinner.

The skies, constantly changing, beamed over Beaulieu.

This evening we dined on more of Jackie’s flavoursome sausages in red wine; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots, and firm Brussels sprouts, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.


  1. The Old Curiosity Shop illustrations are stunning. Thanks so much for sharing them. The book itself looks like it has been much-read and loved and so glad it was the covers that took a beating rather than the illustrations.

    Those initial photos of the cattle, especially, are wonderful. I love the white cow on the right and also the dark cow in the middle of the road.. but many good and atmospheric shots there.

  2. What a precious copy of
    The Old Curiosity Shop’ you have! I LOVED looking at these illustrations – all well worth a second and third look for each contains a wealth of details. Thank you for sharing them!

  3. I can relate to Jackie’s coming out with three owls instead of one; I tend to do the same with cat objects.
    I am astonished by the difference between two artists’ visions of “The Old Curiosity Shop.” I am grateful to you, Derrick, for presenting this comparison for your readers’ aesthetic pleasure.
    The final photo of the skies is exquisite.

  4. Those illustrations are gorgeous. You have such beautiful books, Derrick.
    I laughed at your remark about Jackie coming out with three owls. ?. Lovely landscape photos.

  5. You can’t have just one owl – they need company.

    (yes I’m possibly back reading properly blog posts and commenting…still working on re-balance my health life but starting to make some kind of progress, sometimes)!

  6. OHMYGOSH! I love owls! Those 3 are hootin’-cute!!! ? ? ? A parliament! 😉 Great buys, Jackie!!! I can’t wait to spot them in future photos! 🙂
    Frank Reynolds’s illustrations are lovely…elegant even! 🙂
    Your reflections and beaming skies are beautiful! 🙂
    Those sweet donkeys are always day-brighteners!!! 🙂
    I do enjoy eating out…but there is something warm and cozy about dinner at home. 🙂
    (((HUGS))) 🙂

  7. Wow, what a different between these illustrations and the Keeping pen and ink drawings–although it did recognize some familiar faces. Your “Bare branches were silhouetted against the changing skies” is worthy of a Dickens novel itself. I love that last skyscape, too.

  8. Stunning illustrations, Derrick. What a cool book you have!. I always love to see the animals that roam your forest; such a different world from my own. And I had to laugh at Jackie having to go back for one owl and coming home with 3. <3

  9. Jackie must of thought her owl needed a friend. You sound like Wrangler because I have done something similar in the past. Beautiful pictures.

  10. Beautiful illustrations and fun owls! I especially like Little Nell and the mossy stump with the fungus. Thanks to you and Jackie for always having your wits about you driving along on the roads of calves, ponies and donkeys.

  11. Frank Reynold’s paintings are a treasure. Jackie’s flourishing population of owls is fascinating. Outside, you have had a delightful shooting spree among cattle, clouds and donkeys.

  12. How wonderful!
    I’m having trouble deciding which I love best – the beautiful donkeys or Frank Reynold’s paintings? I guess I don’t have to choose, so I won’t.
    Have a great day!

  13. WOW! Just wow! What a treasure you have in owning the book The Old Curiosity Shop! The paintings are exquisite and so well preserved, despite the soiled cover of the book. I have a few books in my library which I inherited from my grandmother around 1950, before she passed away. All keepsakes and treasures in their own way. It was such a pleasure seeing this post.
    The photos were spectacular.

  14. delightful photos for us today, Derrick! you have a great collection of magnificent illustrations! thanks for sharing!

  15. I love the gnarled trees and their roots. The shot of the skies is also wonderful. I like when the sun rays come out of a cloudy sky.

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