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Margaret W. Tarrant’s Peter Pan Birthday Book

Peter Pan's Friends by Margaret W. Tarrant

For those of you familiar with Margaret W. Tarrant’s beautiful illustrations for children’s books and postcards, you are probably also aware of her illustration, “Peter Pan’s Friends”, perhaps one of the most popular pieces of Pan ephemera. But a few years ago I was surprised (and totally delighted) to find a thin book that was not on any Tarrant bibliographies of which I had read. Further investigation also proved fruitless, perhaps because this book was really a coloring/painting book of Peter Pan themed postcards that was designed to be pulled apart so that the child could send separate cards that he/she had painted in the mail.

Margaret W. Tarrant

Just for the record, Margaret (I think it’s OK to be on a first name basis here) was born south of London in 1888, the daughter of landscape painter, Percy Tarrant, and his wife, Sarah Wyatt. Although she went to college in hopes of being a teacher, she instead turned to painting with watercolors with which she illustrated Christmas greeting cards. Then, at aged twenty, Margaret created the paintings for the book, The Water Babies. During her career, the artist went back and forth, from cards to book illustration, and meeting with great success.

Peter Pan, Birthday Cards to Paint

The cover of the booklet illustrated here, Peter Pan, Birthday Cards to Paint, includes some beautiful finished postcards by the artist as well as duplicate illustrations minus their colors for the young tykes to color. Below is a page from the book with Tarrant’s suggested colors for the postcards.

A selection of Margaret W. Tarrants illustrations for Peter Pan Bithday Cards to Paint book.

Now, check out the same illustrations minus the colors.

Margaret W. Turrant’s Peter Pan Birthday cards without color.
I must admit that every once in a while I want to color in these lovely Tarrant black and white drawings myself but maturity (and the fact that I would lesson the value) prevents me from doing so.


7 thoughts on “Margaret W. Tarrant’s Peter Pan Birthday Book

  1. Beautiful book and lovely images – also extremely rare… Margaret Tarrant’s image of the statue in Kensington Gardens is well known but I had never seen this birthday cards book. What a find! I’m very envious.

    What I also find so interesting is that Peter is usually seen dressed in red in illustrations pre-1953, i.e. pre-Disney. Not a sign of a mini Robin Hood outfit here.

    Posted by Christine | September 28, 2011, 11:31 AM
    • Thanks Christine, I like the red costume as well. In fact, I prefer the earlier London stage costumes than most of their American counterparts. Yes, Maude Adams’s costume is fun but but nearly as mysterious and magical than Peter’s webbed outfits from the Duke of York’s Theatre productions. I am so anxious about the Annotated Peter Pan coming out; I don’t know how I am goin to resist the temptation of taking a peek at the bookstores but as Dale is buying me a copy for my birthday in November, I am going to be a good boy.

      Posted by Bruce K. Hanson | September 29, 2011, 1:47 PM
  2. By the way folks, if you own an unusual image or piece of Peter Pan epemera that you would like to share on this post, please contact me with a scan(s) of the image. I love seeing new Pan items for the first time. (Dale teases me, acting surprised that I would have not known of the existance of a particular item.) What I would love to own is the Peter Pan Paper theatre with photos of Pauline Chase and Gerald du Maurier cut out as puppets. I saw them at the V & A museum. (Just in case someone was wondering what to buy me for Christmas.)

    Posted by Bruce K. Hanson | September 29, 2011, 1:39 PM
  3. Hello – I have just found you by googling the ‘Peter’s Friends’ picture. Hoping you don’t mind if I pick your brains! Today a copy of it in a shop; any idea how much I should expect to pay? I’m not in the habit of buying either art or antiques (but very inclined to buy this), so can’t tell if a price is reasonable. It seems to be on paper a bit wrinkled by the watercolours, signed and framed, with another painting started and presumably rejected on the back, dark trees without much detail.

    Sorry to jump in like this but there don’t seem to be many people on the internet talking about Margaret Tarrant. Many thanx!

    Posted by mand | March 12, 2012, 8:46 PM
    • Hi Mand,
      Sorry I did not see this comment earlier but I am still surprised when someone responds to an earlier blog entry; please forgive my ignorance. If you are referring to the Tarrant post card book, Peter Pan, Birthday Cards to Paint, know that this is quite rare as most copies were probably not well taken care of by their owners- children. I can not remember what I paid for mine. It is in a plastic bag with the price of 145 pounds but I think I paid 100 or so pounds. I have nevewr seen it anywhere else including Ebay so I would guess that you could expect to pay anywhere feom 50 to 150 pounds. If it is less than 50 pounds I would grab it! Hope this helps.

      Posted by bkhanson | March 13, 2012, 5:23 PM
      • Less than 24 hours, that’s no delay! Thanx very much for your opinion; it’s not a book but a painting perhaps 12″ high, in a nothing-special frame. It’s marked £65 and since it is staying in my mind I’m very inclined to go along and offer maybe £50-ish. I’m in town again the day after tomorrow so it’s in the lap of the gods whether someone else gets there first. That’s as close as I ever get to gambling, makes it fun ! I’ll let you know… ☺

        Posted by mand | March 13, 2012, 7:19 PM
      • Good Luck! And yes, I guess I was rather quick after all in answering your question, wasn’t I? (I am usually so slow at these things!) I misread the date of your comment, thought it was from March 3, and felt terrible that I might have made you miss it. If all works well, I’d love if you could send me a scan to share with my readers; we love happy endings!

        Posted by bkhanson | March 13, 2012, 9:20 PM

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