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Alexander the Circus Pony

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (printed)

  • Date:

    ca. 1943 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Ginger, Phyllis E., born 1907 - died 2005 (artist)
    Sanders, Phillips & Co. Ltd. (printer)
    Penguin Books Limited - Puffin Books (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Lithograph on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Paul Durbin and Eleanor Durbin

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case I, shelf 139, box II

This proof of a design by Phyllis Ginger (1907-2005) is of a page opening to a children's story, ‘Alexander, the Circus Pony’. This was the artist's first commission from Puffin books where the whole book, story and illustrations were made by her. Published in 1943, the book was reprinted many times. It shows the artist's lively but meticulous watercolour style and combines her skill at topography and figure drawing. Though best known as a topographical watercolour artist, whose skill led to her contribution to Pilgrim Trust’s ‘Recording Britain’ project, Ginger's first ambition was to become an illustrator and she was prolific in the field. Her style often includes distinctive and lively sketches of people and street scenes, and can be seen in book covers for publishers such as Puffin, JM Dent and the magazine Harper's Bazaar, as well as pictorial advertisements. Ginger illustrated another children's story to feature a horse a few years later, 'The Mushroom Pony', written by Joan Lamburn.

Physical description

Proof for double-page spread for an illustrated book. This image is similar to that shown on page 8 of the finished book, however it is quite different in some details, such as the road vehicles, the positioning of the elephant and appearance of the people and animals, and the colouring. This image has shading on the buildings of the town centre and more shadow on the road. Colours are more muted than the final piece, consisting mainly of monochrome, plus some yellows, reds and blues. The circus wagon is more brightly coloured than the other road vehicles so that it stands out. Two copies of the published book are at E.298:1-16-2007 and E.299:1-16-2007.

Place of Origin

London (printed)


ca. 1943 (published)


Ginger, Phyllis E., born 1907 - died 2005 (artist)
Sanders, Phillips & Co. Ltd. (printer)
Penguin Books Limited - Puffin Books (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Lithograph on paper


Height: 25.3 cm, Width: 38.2 cm unfolded, Width: 44.2 cm open

Descriptive line

Proof for double-page spread for Alexander the Circus Pony, by Phyllis Ginger, Puffin Picture Book; England, ca. 1943.


Ink; Paper



Subjects depicted

Bicycles; Double-deck buses; Horse; Cart; Elephant; Townscapes (representations); People; Wagon; Cars; Caravans; Truck; Tram; Lorry


Prints; Illustration; Books

Production Type

Mass produced


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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