Biography

Barne, Kitty

Kitty Barne (1883-1957) is probably best known now for her Rosina Copper books, but she won the Carnegie Prize in 1940 for Visitors for London. Rosina Copper, and its follow up, Rosina and Son, are true stories about a chestnut mare rescued from neglect. It turns out that Rosina is an Argentine polo pony (and a very good one) who fell on hard times.Kitty Barne was born in Sussex, and studied at the Royal College of Music (several of her children’s books have a musical theme). She married Captain Eric Streatfeild, and was cousin-in-law to Noel Streatfeild, author of Ballet Shoes. Kitty Barne died in 1957 after a stroke.

The illustrator Ruth Gervais illustrated some of Kitty Barne’s books (though not her horse titles: these were done rather well by Alfons Purtscher and Marcia Lane Foster), and she wrote this about Kitty Barne:

"To an illustrator, Kitty Barne was a most delightful author, not because she gave one a free hand, far from it, but because she knew exactly what she wanted and was so delighted when one caught her visual images. It was a true collaboration of author and artist. We would meet and then, her good ear towards me, her eyes shining, her face alive with interest, she would discuss her characters. I used to make dozens of quick sketches until I got them as she pictured them, helped by her interjections, ‘Oh, rather a higher forehead and even deeper set eyes’ or 'oh, no you've made her far too nice, I think she is a horrid little girl.' We would laugh together over her amusing adults as she suggested incidents for me to sketch which would bring out their characteristics." (from Chosen for Children, 1977)

Finding the books
Both pony titles are easy to find, and not generally expensive.

Sources and links
CILIP Archive
Wikipedia Article

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