Like these early 20th century Children's books
Illustrated by Ernest Aris
'A Bad Little Bear'
Our book #5163
Published by Henry Frowde And Hodder & Stoughton in 1910.
With its 12 charming, full colour plates, this is one of the first books illustrated by Aris. The few lines of text which accompany his plates are not credited so were presumably by a staff writer.
'Little Mousie Crusoe'
Our book #004940
Published by Cassell in 1916.
'Little Mousie Crusoe' was one of a series of books written by May Byron, each illustrated with 12 full colour plates by Ernest Aris.
'Little Bunny Gulliver'
Our book #004941
Published by Cassell in 1916
'Little Bunny Gulliver' was another in the series of books written by May Byron and illustrated with 12 full colour plates by Ernest Aris based on well known stories, reworked for a younger readership.
'Foxey Brush Tail'
Our book #7895
The last book is this uncommon little volume, published in 1917 by S.W. Partridge.
Some copies have 4 illustrations and others 7 this example contains a total of 8 full page illustrations, which though not credited are signed 'Ernest Noble'.
However, anyone familiar with the works of 'Earnest Aris' will be struck by the similarities as here:
'Ernest Aris' from 'Little Bunnie Gulliver'
and far right 'Ernest Noble' from 'Foxey Brush Tail',
And the similarities are not simply in style, as you can see the signatures of the supposedly different artists exhibit many similarities as well. The 'E' of Ernest has been changed but the 'R' and 'N' match and the use of the bold horizontal stroke.
I have not be able to confirm it but it seems probable that Earnest Noble and Ernest Aris are in fact one and the same person.
Though authors often find it expedient to publish under different names, to segregate writing in different genre for instance, it is more unusual for an illustrator. Ernest Aris though is know to have adopted several pseudonyms including 'Robin A Hood' and 'Dan Crow' and there may have been others. The reason for this use of pseudonyms appears to be to avoid further problems arising from an accusation of plagiarism by Frederick Warne & Co, the Publishers of Beatrix Potter, some of whose characters Aris had apparently borrowed for his own book The Treasure Seekers
Whatever the reason, the eight charming, full colour illustrations help tell the tale of of a naughty young fox who runs away from home, has a number of encounters with other woodland creatures and then an angry farmer before finding his way home again.
Repair and Restoration
Like so many books of this type and age, these books arrived in less than perfect condition; not surprising really after almost a century of being handled by enthusiastic but not always clean or careful, little hands.
Both 'Little Bunny Gulliver' and 'Little Mousie Crusoe' had lost their spines, a very common problem as they are usually only paper over thin card, yet the spine is the part of a book which is most often handled when taking them from a shelf. The only answer is to create a facsimile of the missing spine which can then be attached to the outside edge of the boards, which we did.
This sort of repair works well as long as the actually binding of the book, the stitching which holds the pages together, is still sound. Often though the damage is more serious as it was with 'Foxey Brush Tail' which came to us with the text block partially detached and many loose pages. Before it was fit to be listed I had to take it apart, then strengthen and repair where necessary the gutter, as we call the fold in the middle of the book between the pairs of pages, I was then able to re-stitch the book and then put it back in the original paper covered boards, with only new endpapers to record the fact.