Ponies, ponies, ponies


Geoffrey Whittam

Geoffrey Whittam (born 1916, date of death uncertain but probably 1998) is an iconic figure in pony book illustration. He illustrated over 50 pony books, as well as providing illustrations for short stories and annuals. Whittam was responsible for illustrating one of the longest British pony book series, Judith M Berrisford’s Jackie series, as well as titles for Sheila Chapman, Catherine Harris, and one for Primrose Cumming, who seems to have used just about every pony book illustrator existing. He is probably best known for illustrating many of Monica Edwards’ stories. Although the stories he illustrated for her aren’t really pony books (Anne Bullen did her early titles, which could be classified as pony stories) there is an element of pony content to most of the books, and Monica Edwards is such a wonderful writer she is included in most pony book fans’ collections.

Geoffrey Whittam was Monica Edwards’ favourite illustrator, and often visited her and her family at Punchbowl Farm. As a boy, he loved to draw, and he started art studies at the Southampton School of Art. He did a variety of jobs before the war, during which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC), and then, with his gratuity and a Government grant, he studied at the Central School of Arts and Crafts for two years. He spent the year after emerging from the School trying to get work, and managed to get a drawing published in The Radio Times.

Whittam has never been my choice of favourite illustrator; he is at his best when drawing children and landscape, when he is very good indeed, but his horses and ponies are sometimes awkward, with oddly foreshortened necks and inaccurate legs. They are amazingly distinctive. A Whittam pony will always have a thick thatch of mane (imagine trying to groom that without recourse to the dandy brush); be on the stocky side, and have an immensely wide forehead.

Finding the books: the majority of the Jackie books are reasonably easy to find; the Sheila Chapman titles are tricky, and many of the Monica Edwards titles will be expensive as hardbacks with dustjackets. As paperbacks they can be more reasonable.

Sources and links

Brian Parks: The Monica Edwards Romney Marsh Companion, Girls Gone By, 2006

Brian Parks: Monica Edwards - The Authorised Biography, Girls Gone By, 2010

Pony books illustrated by Geoffrey Whittam

Primrose Cumming: Trouble at Trimbles

Country Life, 1949

Rosemary Griffin: The Ponies Camped Too

Blackie, 1950 (see below)

Monica Edwards: Black Hunting Whip

Collins, 1950

Monica Edwards: The White Riders

Collins, 1950

Monica Edwards: Cargo of Horses

Collins, 1951

Monica Edwards: Hidden in a Dream

Collins, 1952

Monica Edwards: Storm Ahead

Collins, 1953

Monica Edwards: No Entry

Collins, 1954

Judith M Berrisford: The Ponies Next Door

University of London Press, 1954

Margaret Stanley Wrench - How Much for a Pony?

Lutterworth Press, 1955

Monica Edwards: The Nightbird

Collins, 1955

Josephine Pullein-Thompson: Patrick’s Pony

Brockhampton Press, 1956

Monica Edwards: Frenchman’s Secret

Collins, 1956

Peggy Cannam: Triple Bar

Lutterworth Press, 1956

Catherine Harris: They Rescued a Pony

Blackie, 1956

Judith M Berrisford: Ponies All Summer

University of London Press, 1956

Judith M Berrisford: Pony Forest Adventure

University of London Press, 1957

Monica Edwards: Operation Seabird

Collins, 1957

Monica Edwards: Strangers to the Marsh

Collins, 1957

Judith M Berrisford: Jackie Won a Pony

Hodder & Stoughton, 1958

Catherine Harris: The Ponies of Cuckoo Mill Farm

Blackie, 1958

Monica Edwards: The Cownappers

Collins, 1958

Judith M Berrisford: Ten Ponies and Jackie

Brockhampton Press, 1959

Sheila Chapman: A Pony and His Partner

Burke, 1959

Sheila Chapman: Pony from Fire

Burke, 1960

Monica Edwards: No Going Back

Collins, 1960

Monica Edwards: Wish for a Pony

Children’s Press, 1960s, cover only

Judith M Berrisford: Jackie’s Pony Patrol

Brockhampton Press, 1961

Monica Edwards: The Outsider

Collins, 1961

Monica Edwards: The Hoodwinkers
Collins, 1962

Monica Edwards: Dolphin Summer

Collins, 1963

Judith M Berrisford: Jackie and the Pony Trekkers

Brockhampton Pres, 1963

Patricia Leitch: Highland Pony Trek

Collins Seagull, 1964

Denise Hill: A Pony for Two

Collins Seagull, 1965 (cover only as far as I know)

Monica Edwards: Fire in the Punchbowl

Collins, 1965

Frances Murray: Ponies on the Heather

Collins Seagull, 1966 (cover only)

Denise Hill: Coco the Gift Horse

Collins Seagull, 1966

Monica Edwards: The Wild One

Collins, 1967

Judith M Berrisford: Jackie’s Pony Camp Summer
Brockhampton Press, 1968

Elinore Havers: The Surprise Riding Club

Collins Seagull, 1968, (cover only)

Judith M Berrisford: Jackie’s Show-jumping Surprise

Brockhampton Press, 1973

Judith M Berrisford: Jackie and the Pony Boys

Brockhampton Press, 1970

Christine Pullein-Thompson: Ride by Night

Collins Pony Library, 1974 (cover only)

Diana Pullein-Thompson: Three Ponies and Shannan

Collins Pony Library, 1974 (cover only)

Patricia Leitch: Pony Surprise

Collins Pony Library, 1974

Judith M Berrisford: Jackie and the Misfit Pony

Brockhampton Press, 1975

Judith M Berrisford: Jackie on Pony Island

Brockhampton Press, 1977

Judith M Berrisford: Jackie and the Moonlight Pony

Brockhampton Press, 1977

Judith M Berrisford: Jackie and the Pony Thieves

Brockhampton Press, 1978

Judith M Berrisford: Jackie and the Phantom Ponies

Brockhampton Press, 1979

Judith M Berrisford: Jackie and the Pony Rivals

Brockhampton Press, 1981

Judith M Berrisford:: Jackie and the Missing Showjumper

Brockhampton Press, 1982

Judith M Berrisford: Change Ponies Jackie!

Brockhampton Press, 1983

Rennie Goes Riding?

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