1969 was a Wonderful Time to be a Child

Why 1969 was a wonderful time to be a child (and other gorgeous storybook illustrations)

While searching through the bookcases in search of tutoring materials, I pulled out a beautiful 1969 print of Edward Lear’s The Owl and The Pusscat. It’s so utterly beautiful and of-its-time that I want to frame every single page. Except that I can’t bear to rip the book up to do so. Weren’t the sixties great? Dreamy, trippy – even the fish in the sea are absolutely gorgeous.

I was on a roll by then, and found some other delights, most of them from the 70s. The World of Uncle Peter deserves a place in my heart for featuring a protagonist (Uncle Peter, naturally) who is an ex-art school dude who frequently has daydreams that looks suspiciously plant-based… (this was 1979).

There is also a definite Royal Tenenbaums feel to the list of characters. I love that mix of old staid portraits and sleepy cartoon animals.

Another gem was ‘The Witch’s Hat’, which was one of my favourite books when I was a little critter. The bat-print on the inside cover is exactly what I’d like in a t-shirt these days…

And the illustrations (from 1980) have a certain Pink Floydd appeal to them!

Lastly, ‘Magic’ and ‘I thought I saw’ used to haunt my dreams as a little one. There was something about bright colours with sparseness of illustration that really got to me – I have no idea why. Now I think they are an inspired bit of art.

Part of me really wants all this stuff on my walls – some of it is so perfect. But I don’t think I’ll ever be able to dismantle the books. They’re all little works of genius.