Ponies, ponies, ponies
Paul Brown is probably the most sought after American equine illustrator; books illustrated by him regularly reach substantial prices, dwarfing what his English contemporaries can achieve.
Paul Desmond Brown (1893 -
After the war, Paul Brown set up as Black and White by Brown, continuing to do commercial illustration. He became a fixture at polo matches, helping to launch Polo magazine in 1927. Biscotti calls him “the first artist to accurately portray the polo pony in action”; it is perhaps fairer to call him the first American artist to do so. The English artist Gilbert Holiday, whom Guy Paget thought the most successful artist to tackle polo, was active at the same time. In the 1930s, Brown began to illustrate for Brooks Brothers. it was a successful arrangement on both sides. Brown said of his relationship with the firm: “we’ve never had an unpleasant word.” Winthrop H Brooks, Chairman of the Board of Brooks Brothers Inc thought Brown superb at horses and dogs; good at men but “we keep him away from women pretty much -
He retains an immense appeal. Robin Bledsoe explained his attraction thus: “Know your subject. Make every stroke tell a story or express a feeling. Show extremes of action in taut lines and diagonals. Balance the masses and spaces in your composition. Be spontaneous. Never copy.” But perhaps most important of all was Brown’s love of life, which still radiates through his drawings.
Finding the books: it would not be either an easy or a cheap task to collect all of the books that Paul Brown wrote and illustrated. Some ex-
Links and sources
M L Biscotti & Robin Bledsoe: Paul Brown: Master of Equine Art, Derrydale Press, Lanham & New York, 2001
A few examples of Paul Brown’s art
Terri A. Wear: Horse Stories, an Annotated Bibliography, Scarecrow Press, 1987
Guy Paget: Sporting Pictures of England, London, 1945
Stella Walker: British Sporting Art in the Twentieth Century, The Sportsman’s Press, 1989
Many thanks to all the people who sent me photographs: Susan Bourgeau, Alison McCallum, Sarah, Lisa Catz
Bud and Lynn
Mick and Mack
Piper’s Pony, the Story of Patchwork
Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1935, 120 pp
This is the story of Piper and his Shetland pony Patchwork, whose birthday is on
Horse Books written and illustrated by Paul Brown
Crazy Quilt, Circus Pony
Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1934, 120 pp
Reprinted several times
Crazy Quilt and Oscar are ponies who perform in the circus. They are taken to their owner’s
farm for a holiday so that they can spend some time with Peter and Pam.
War Paint, an Indian Pony
Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, 96 pp
War Paint is born on the range, and grows up to be a proud stallion; when Grey Eagle catches
the colt and tames him, he becomes a fine war pony.
Hi Guy, the Cinderella Horse
Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1944, 62 pp
A true story: Hi Guy is rescued from a pound and brought back to health, when he competes
(and wins) at Madison Square Gardens. Robin was an aged horse, abandoned when his
owner moved away. When the starving horse was found, he was taken to the pound. Just
before he was to be destroyed, a man bought the horse for $5, took him home, and his family
set to work to restore the horse. Robin is renamed Hi Guy, and goes from rags to riches when
his talent for jumping is discovered.
Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1942, 32 pp
As Sparkie and Puffball
Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1954, 32 pp
Sparkie Parker lives on a farm, but he dreams of ranches and cowboys and Indians. One day
he gets the chance to go to a real ranch, and there he meets Puff Ball, a pony with his own
opinions on everything.
Merrylegs, the Rocking Pony
Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1946, 64 pp
Merrylegs is a rocking horse who has a very tough time at the hands of his spoiled owners.
They whip him, cut off his tail, and break one of his glass eyes. Once they lose interest in him,
he is sent to a toy repair shop, where he is made better than new. His next home is with Billy,
who gives him the loving home he deserves. Then Merrylegs breaks both front legs. Having
believed that Merrylegs can be mended, Billy comes home from town to find two wonderful
Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1946, 64 pp
This is one of the Perkins family books: not a story as such, but an alphabet book.
Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1950, 96 pp
A young reader: the further adventures of Bud and Lynn. Their boastful cousin, Skinny, comes for a
visit, and while there, he learns many things, one of which is good sportsmanship.
Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1948, 96 pp
A young reader: Bud and Lynn live next door to a Pony Farm, with ponies and Dalmatians.
They ride, help train the ponies, and watch the foals, Half n Half, and The Pest grow up. When
the ponies get loose, they help to rescue Half n Half, after he falls into an excavation hole.
Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1951, 128 pp
The story of a part Welsh pony who was a natural jumper, and felt it was his duty to join every
fox hunt. When the hounds gave tongue, there was no keeping Silver Heels in his pasture or
stall. The Laird family takes advantage of his jumping ability, hunting and competing with the
Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York,1955, 32 pp
A young reader: the story of a Welsh pony colt who gets himself into some very silly situations.
Books about Paul Brown
M L Biscotti & Robin Bledsoe: Paul Brown -
Derrydale Press, Lanham & New York, 2001