11th September 2020
This November it will be 100 years since the first publication of a Rupert Bear story in the Daily Express newspaper. The intrepid little bear made his debut on November 8 1920; not a comic-strip, not a cartoon, but a ‘drawing’. Newsprint was short, and his creators were limited to one frame a day, either one large panel or a row of four small drawings. Occasionally the story was written in prose with a little marginal decoration. Rupert Bear was the invention of Mary Tourtel, a book illustrator, who worked on Rupert until he was handed over to Alfred Bestall in 1935. She was born Mary Caldwell in Canterbury, Kent, in 1874. Her father and brother were celebrated stained-glass artists and stonemasons who were associated with Canterbury Cathedral for many years, while another brother moved to South Africa, where he became a well-known painter of animals. Mary went to art school and became a professional illustrator, producing her first books in 1897. She died in 1948 and is buried with her husband in Canterbury. It is through her husband, Herbert Bird Tourtel, that Rupert Bear comes to be linked to Guernsey.
16th July 2020
Nick Machon's super book, Guernsey in old photographs, based on the Guernsey Press' collection, was published in 1988 by Alan Sutton Publishing. It went through several editions. This is a list of the photographs included in it, by page.
3rd April 2019
Jean Hugo was the great-grandson of Victor Hugo. A talented artist and theatre designer, he was a schoolboy at Elizabeth College in Guernsey and made later visits to the island, of which he was very fond, including attending the inauguration of Jean Boucher's celebrated statue of the poet in 1914. The Library has a signed copy of his autobiography, Le Regard de la mémoire, which he gave to Roger Martin, the curator of Hauteville House at the time of his visit in 1977; Roger Martin's ancestor was, coincidentally, one of Victor Hugo's 'poor children.' The photograph is courtesy of the Guernsey Press.
3rd April 2019
Georges Victor-Hugo (1868-1925) was the son of Victor Hugo’s eldest son, Charles, and the young Alice Lehaene, an orphan who had been under the guardianship of family friend and political activist Jules Simon. Hugo doted on Georges and his sister Jeanne and after the tragic and unexpected death of their father at the age of only 44 Hugo became their guardian and played a large part in their upbringing. They are the subject of his immensely popular poetry collection, L’Art d’être grand-père (1877). Georges was a genial man and a talented artist, who was fond of Guernsey and spent…
22nd March 2019
From Charles Hugo's Chez Victor Hugo par un passant, [Victor Hugo at home, by a passer-by], Cadart & Luquet, Paris: 1864, published anonymously and decorated with 12 etchings by Maxime Lalanne.
7th November 2018
Once a magnificent farm house with 15 bedrooms, made of the best blue granite, said to be haunted, the old house of the [de] La Marche family in St Martin's saw highs and lows. Its story ended with demolition by the Occupying Forces in 1944, and the memory of the house itself and a reputed connection with Victor Hugo became shrouded in mystery. It is quite possible that Victor Hugo admired the house - he certainly would have admired its wonderful situation, and is quoted as saying (in the advertisement above from a 1915 tourist brochure), 'Live at Icart, live forever!,' but there is no evidence he ever set foot in it. His family, however, were indeed intimately connected with it.
2nd November 2018
List of photographs in Vols. XI-XIII of this invaluable journal,which can be consulted at the Library. As listed in the original publication. The Library has original photographic prints by one of the main contributors of photographs at this period, S M Henry.
31st October 2018
This invaluable publication is available for consultation at the Library. A list of its photographic illustrations from vols. III-IV 1947-1949. Please ask for further information. The items may no longer be with the same owners or guardians.
9th July 2018
'A slightly coloured sketch.'An oaken chest, half eaten by the worm, But richly carved by Anthony of Trent, With Scripture stories from the life of Christ; A chest that came from Venice, and had held The ducal robes of some old ancestor. That by the way—it may be true or false.[From] Rogers’ Italy.By Samuel Elliott Hoskins. Victor Hugo was not, it would seem, the first to transform the carved wooden chests of Guernsey into some other form of decorative furniture. De Beauvoir De Lisle got there before him!
19th March 2018
The Priaulx Library has many photographs and cartes de visite by Arsène Garnier, including many of Victor Hugo and his family. This is part of the Victor Hugo and Guernsey project. The carte de visite above is a studio self-portrait from the Library collection, with Garnier's signature red outline and text.