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.
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.
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.
Now, check out the same illustrations minus the colors.