Ponies, ponies, ponies


Cecil G Trew

Cecil Gwendolen Russell worked under her first married name, Cecil G Trew. She did
much of her work for A & C Black, and is probably best known now in equine circles as the illustrator of two of Primrose Cumming’s Silver Eagle books. She was as much at home drawing dogs as horses and people, and illustrated several dog books. Cecil G Trew wrote and illustrated her own books. Most were instructional books on drawing, but she also wrote two pony books.

Cecil G Trew was also a regular contributor to the earliest Pony Club Annuals, providing a series of illustrated articles on equine anatomy, and how to draw horses. Later annuals included articles based on her book The Accoutrements of the Riding Horse. These drawings in particular are beautiful, and the two shown here are from Bridle and Bit.

It seems likely that Cecil Trew rode most of her life. The dedication of Wild Horse of the West, printed in 1937, mentions Prunes, ‘A plucky little horse and a trusted friend who got me out of many a scrape in that most delectable country.’ The photograph shows her riding in Sweden, at the family home of her second husband, Captain Rolf Ehrenborg.

Cecil was born in 1897. Her father was Assistant Master at Clifton College, Bristol, and she was one of three. Her brother, Harley, was killed in WW1 at the Battle of Loos in 1915, and her sister Vivien became a noted archaeologist in Cornwall. Cecil trained at the Bristol Municipal School of Art (later the Royal West of England Academy).

Her work work was extraordinary. In WW1, she was a Red Cross nurse in Bristol, but she also did surgical drawing in Bristol Royal Infirmary, as photography at that time could not show the detail required. She continued to work as a surgical illustrator, and was the only surgical artist in the British Army during WW2 (as shown in the photograph above). She spent three months in France in 1945 making detailed drawings of the operations being performed in field stations, and wrote a book about her experiences, What Are You Doing Here?

During the First World War, Cecil had met an American doctor, Niel Trew, who had come to provide medical support to the war effort. They married in 1918, and moved to Los Angeles, where Niel had his practice. Cecil did not give up her work: she illustrated four books while living in America, all published in 1929. They had three children, but Niel died in 1929 and the family returned to Bristol. Cecil carried on illustrating and writing. She also worked for the Natural History Museum and was said to have taught art at the Imperial Service College in Windsor (this information appears on the dustjackets of her books, but has not been substantiated by the college).

Cecil met and married Captain Rolf Ehrenborg, the son of the Swedish Consul in Liverpool. They separated in 1953, and Cecil died on 4 April 1958.

Finding the books: the books she illustrated are reasonably easy to find, and not usually monstrously expensive.

Links and sources and links

Bob Forrest: a full, and excellent, account of Cecil G Trew’s life

Photographs of Cecil G Trew and her work (as referred to in the article above)

Many thanks to Michael Mather, Cecil G Trew’s grandson, for biographical information and the photograph

The British Library

Cecil G Trew: Bridle and Bit (The Pony Club Annual 5, 1954)
Pony Club Book 8, 1958

Pony books written and illustrated by Cecil G Trew

Asido, the Story of a Mexican Pony

Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1935

Wild Horse of the West

Methuen, 1937

Pony books illustrated by Cecil G Trew

Primrose Cumming: Silver Eagle Riding School

A & C Black, 1938

D Glyn Forest: Gipsy’s Way

A & C Black, 1939

Catherine Spencer: Pennies for a Pony

A & C Black, 1950

Primrose Cumming: Silver Eagle Carries On

A & C Black, 1950

The Pony Club Annual nos 1–8

Naldrett, 1950–1957

Each annual contained an article written or illustrated by Cecil G Trew.

Books written and illustrated by Cecil G Trew

Ten Little Nigger Boys

Basil Blackwell, 1931

Bad Rhymes about Good Animals

R Tuck, 1933

Drawing Without a Master
A & C Black, 1936

Moki, Son of the Desert
Constable, 1936

Figure & Animal Drawing

A & C Black, 1938

Drawing at Home

A & C Black, 1939

From Dawn to Eclipse: the Story of the Horse

Methuen, 1939

Re-issued and re-written as:
The Horse Through the Ages

Methuen, 1953

Hints for Artists

A & C Black, 1940

The Story of the Dog

Methuen, 1940

What are You Doing Here?

International Publishing, 1947

Questions Answered About the Human Body
Jordan & Sons, 1948

Questions Answered About Wild Flowers
Jordan & Sons, 1949

Drawing Out of Doors

A & C Black, 1950

Questions Answered on How to Draw
Jordan & Sons, 1950

The Accoutrements of the Riding Horse

Seeley Service, 1951

Elementary Drawing in Pencil

A & C Black, 1952

Elementary Drawing in  Pen-and-Ink

A & C Black, 1952

A Pond in Your Garden

Seeley Service, 1952

Introduction to Bird Watching

Seeley Service, 1956

Drawing Self-Taught

A & C Black, 1957

Elementary Drawing in Pencil and Pen-and-Ink

A & C Black, 1957

(Combined the books published in 1952)

Other books illustrated
by Cecil G Trew

Omay Kayyam: Reveries of Omar

(Three versions published: National Illustrated News Service, Kaloprint Corp, The Danby’s), 1929


(Three versions published: National Illustrated News Service, Kaloprint Corp, The Danby’s), 1929

Benjamin Franklin: On Choosing Your Woman

Danby/Kaloprint Corp, 1929

Eleanor Farjeon et al: Number Eight Joy Street

Benjamin Blackwell, 1930

Algernon Blackwell: The Parrot and the Cat

Basil Blackwell, 1931

Goldschmidt: An Eye for a Horse

Constable, 1932

Svend Fleuron: Monarch of the Glen
Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1935

Geoffrey Clowes: The Story of Sail

Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1936

Christopher Morshead: Terrier’s Days
Jonathan Cape, 1937

Lady Kitty Ritson: Lad

A & C Black, 1938

Lilian Redstone: Our East Anglian Heritage
Methuen 1939

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