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An interview with Frances Bell, artist

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I'm delighted to have been able to interview Frances Bell, equestrian artist. I have seen a lot of sporting art over the years, and what I love about Frances' paintings are her fresh take on horses at work. We're all familiar with the traditional portrayal of horses galloping over fields, but Frances' works take another view.

I used to cover my jotter with drawings of horses when I was at school, and still draw rather inaccurate horses now if bored in meetings. Have horses and art always been something that for you, have gone together? I also drew a lot as a child, and horses were among the subjects. This was mainly because I was interested in horses, so along with my other hobbies I attempted to draw them. I loved the idea of capturing the individual horses, but didn't often succeed! As I got to being a teenager I became more aware of the huge history of horses in art. I remember seeing Stubbs' Whistlejacket on a postcard and thinking that this was a masterpi…

Pony Tails and Puffin Books III: Kaye Webb

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Eleanor Graham retired as editor of Puffin Books in 1961. Her place was taken, briefly, by Margaret Clark (who was responsible for publishing Tolkein’s The Hobbit, a book of which Eleanor Graham had had a dim opinion). Although Margaret Clark had been promised the Puffin editorship, she was shunted sideways, as Allen Lane, Penguin founder, met Kaye Webb and saw in her an inspirational editor of children’s books.
Webb was appointed in 1961. She had previously edited Elizabethan (a magazine I never saw–the nearest I got was Nigel’s mention of it in Willan and Searle’s Down with Skool series). Her career history had covered many aspects of the creative world, from working as a 15-year-old for Mickey Mouse Weekly, replying to children’s letters, to broadcasting for Woman’s Hour, and working with her then husband, Ronald Searle, on several of his books.
Webb was not just an editor and brilliant spotter of the unusual and the best: she was an inspired promoter. There is little point in cho…