Children's book illustrator Gerald Rose, whose picture books with his wife, Elizabeth, and authors such as Ted Hughes are enjoyed worldwide, died May 5 at the age of 87. The Guardian reported that Rose was the youngest winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal
for children's book illustration in 1960 for Old Winkle and the Seagulls (written by Elizabeth Rose), when he was in his mid-20s and barely out of art school. He would go on "to become an influential artist in the field of children's picture books. His
painterly, playful and gently anarchic artwork continues to be enjoyed around the world."
Rose was born in Hong Kong, where "the exotic flora and fauna of his childhood would form a regular theme in his work, most directly in a highly emotive autobiographical work for Cambridge University Press, Tiger Dreams (1996)," the Guardian noted,
adding that the "childhood idyll was brutally curtailed when the Japanese swept into Hong Kong, and by 1942 the family was broken up," with Gerald, his sister, and mother taken to an internment camp for civilians while his father was interned at a
military camp. Upon their release, the children were sent to live in Lowestoft in England.
Eventually Rose enrolled in the Lowestoft College of Art, where he met Elizabeth Pretty, a fellow student. He received a scholarship to the Royal Academy Schools in 1955, and his wife joined him in London to work as a primary school teacher. In addition
to his studies, he also took a keen interest in the children's books Elizabeth would bring home.
Gerald and Elizabeth Rose then began their collaboration, and their first book, How St. Francis Tamed the Wolf, was published in 1958. The following year brought a second book, Wuffles Goes to Town, along with the Greenaway Medal-winning Old Winkle and
Rose also began teaching at Blackpool College of Art. In 1965, he was appointed to a teaching position at Maidstone College of Art, where he developed the highly successful BA illustration program, which he led until 1987.
Along with the books with his wife, Rose illustrated the work of many other authors, including Ted Hughes's Nessie the Mannerless Monster (1964), James Joyce's The Cat and the Devil (1965), Paul Jennings's The Hopping Basket (1965) and The Great Jelly of
London (1967), Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky and Other Poems (1968), and a number of Norman Hunter's Professor Branestawm titles (1981-83). Rose's own later picture books included The Tiger Skin Rug (1979) and the award-winning Ahhh! Said Stork (1986).
First third or so (there are two book covers of his, plus a photo):
The illustrator Gerald Rose, who has died aged 87, was the youngest winner of the Kate Greenaway medal for children’s book illustration, in 1960. Then still in his mid-20s and barely out of art school, he would go on, often in partnership with his wife,
Elizabeth, a writer, to become an influential artist in the field of children’s picture books. His painterly, playful and gently anarchic artwork continues to be enjoyed around the world.
The Greenaway medal (now renamed the Carnegie medal) was awarded for Rose’s illustrations to Old Winkle and the Seagulls. Written by Elizabeth and published by Faber, the book exemplifies Rose’s graphic ebullience and flair. It also embodies one of
his recurrent themes and motifs, the coastal town (in this case Lowestoft, Suffolk), reflecting his lifelong association with the sea.
Born in Hong Kong, Gerald was the son of Rachel (nee Law) and Henley Rose. His father was from Lowestoft, and served in the army in both the first and second world wars, having signed up at the age of 16. He had enjoyed his time stationed in Hong Kong
and decided to make it his home, entering the civil service there after he was demobbed.
His mother, originally from a large family in Borneo (Gerald would joke that he was descended from Iban headhunters), was adopted by a missionary, who paid for her schooling at a convent and sent her to Hong Kong to finish her education. There she met
and married Henley, the pair sharing a keen interest in sport.
In late 1930s Hong Kong their two children, Gerald and his older sister, Dawn, enjoyed an idyllic early childhood, roaming freely around what were then wild spaces near the family home. Gerald recalled a dramatic encounter with a wild tiger, and the
exotic flora and fauna of his childhood would form a regular theme in his work, most directly in a highly emotive autobiographical work for Cambridge University Press, Tiger Dreams (1996)...
"The Tiger-Skin Rug," 1979:
("It's amazing how easy it is for the tiger to pass himself off as a rug - he enjoys a life of luxury with the rajah's family, snacking on midnight feasts and playing with his children. He goes entirely undetected, until one night, when he risks
expulsion from his comfortable abode as burglars break into the palace and he has to decide whether to stay in disguise as a rug - or save the rajah from a horrible beating...")
WRITINGS BY THE AUTHOR:
Ironhead, Merrimack Book Service, 1973.
Trouble in the Ark, Puffin Books, 1975, Penguin, 1976, new edition with new illustrations, Bodley Head, 1985, Morehouse, 1989.
"Ahhh!" Said Stork, Merrimack Book Service, 1977.
Watch Out!, Penguin, 1978.
The Tiger-Skin Rug, Prentice-Hall, 1979.
Rabbit Pie, Merrimack Book Service, 1980.
PB Takes a Holiday, Merrimack Book Service, 1980.
How George Lost His Voice, Bodley Head, 1981, Merrimack Book Service, 1983.
PB on Ice, Bodley Head, 1982, Merrimack Book Service, 1983.
The Bag of Wind, Bodley Head, 1983, Merrimack Book Service, 1984.
Scruff, Bodley Head, 1984, Merrimack Book Service, 1985.
(Adapter) The Hare and the Tortoise, Aladdin, 1988.
(Adapter) The Raven and the Fox, Aladdin, 1988.
(Adapter) The Lion and the Mouse, Aladdin, 1988.
The Fisherman and the Cormorants, Bodley Head, 1987.
The Bird Garden, Magnet Books, 1988.
Can Hippo Jump?, Macmillan, 1991.
Out There, Rutledge Books (Danbury, CT), 2001.
WITH WIFE, ELIZABETH ROSE; SELF-ILLUSTRATED JUVENILES
Old Winkle and the Seagulls, A. S. Barnes, 1960.
Punch and Judy Carry On, Faber, 1962.
Saint George and the Fiery Dragon, Faber, 1963, Norton, 1964.
Alexander's Flycycle, Faber, 1967, Walker & Co., 1969.
The Great Oak, Merrimack Book Service, 1970.
Androcles and the Lion, Merrimack Book Service, 1971.
Albert and the Green Bottle, Merrimack Book Service, 1972.
Wolf! Wolf!, Merrimack Book Service, 1974.
Lucky Hans, Merrimack Book Service, 1976.