Children

Herbert Bird Tourtel

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 2020; 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.

Victor Hugo and Guernsey: My school years at Elizabeth College, by Jean Hugo

10th May 2019
My school years at Elizabeth College, by Jean Hugo (1894-1984), from his autobiographical work, Le Regard de la mémoire, Paris: Actes Sud, 1983. Fond memories of Guernsey and characters such as 'Soapy Sam' and 'Peewee' are expressed in painterly language by the artist and great-grandson of Victor Hugo, who was a boarder at Elizabeth College. The illustration is of a drawing made by Jean's stepfather, René-Georges Hermann-Paul (1874-1940), of Jean, his mother Pauline, and the valet de chambre arriving for Jean's first term at Elizabeth College in 1907. This drawing was sold at Christie's, Paris, in 2012.

Les Miserables de Guernesey: Children

21st April 2017
On 5 March 1862 Hugo made arrangements with his cook, Marie Sixty, for a repas des enfants pauvres to be served every week, ‘the meal will be the same as ours, we shall serve them, they will say as they sit down Dieu soyez beni and on rising Dieu soyez remercié.’ Hugo followed the teaching of a French doctor that meat and a glass of wine were good for growing children—not a medical opinion that would be advocated today. The first such lunch took place on 10 March 1862 and thereafter they were held on a regular basis. There was a special meal at Christmas, when presents were distributed. These were often of a useful nature—items of clothing for example, but there were also toys. This is part of The Victor Hugo and Guernsey project.

Ladies' College Christmas

15th December 2015
Kindergarten Christmas shows, from the Harvey family collection, recorded in Aunt Loo's Account of the Children, in blue Writing Album. The photograph, by C L Bienvenu of Cordier Hill, is of Elise Mauger, aged '9 years, daughter of HM's Sheriff of Guernsey. In fancy costume, 'The old Guernsey woman,' worn by Edith M Harvey at the Ladies' College Kindergarten cantata, 19th December 1896. Given to Miss Harvey by Mrs H D Mauger.' Winifred Harvey was very badly affected by asthma as a child, and missed long periods of schooling as a result. The Writing Album also contains programmes for the 1893 and 1894 performances, as well as a Matinée musicale of May 19, 1896.

Jean de Queteville's son

3rd November 2015
Guernsey's first Methodist preacher Jean de Queteville writes about his son Jean in his Magasin Méthodiste of 1818, twenty-five years after the little boy's death. The portrait of de Queteville is from Henri de Jersey's Vie du Rév. Jean de Queteville, avec de nombreux extraits de sa correspondance, et un abrégé de la vie de Madame de Queteville, London: J Mason, and Guernsey: Mademoiselle de Queteville, St Jacques, 1847.

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