Looking back brings new inspiration

Inspiration for my words

VINTAGE READING

Welcome to my first post on my new blog – Angelina’s Casa. I’m kicking it off on the subject of my much-loved vintage children’s books

I love bookshops. The glossy covers, the smell of paper, the promise of travelling to imaginative lands… Having two boys, I can’t get enough of buying them lovely, thick children’s books for them to enjoy. Consequently, they have bulging book cases of classics, one-off delights and old favourites. I recently dusted off some of my own old books from childhood and it got me reminiscing about the books I used to love.

An old favourite: Alice in Wonderland

Anyone remember the hardback Dean & Son Enid Blyton books? I had so many of these, with their nostalgic covers and illustrations, and am now regretting giving them away so readily.

Bringing back memories of a 70s childhood
Dean & Son's iconic covers

Having recently interviewed Mandy Sutcliffe, founder of the gorgeous Belle and Boo children’s brand, I was inspired by how she uses vintage children’s books as the starting point for her work.

Belle and Boo print
Belle and Boo print

A few days later I read an interview with Alice Temperley in which she mentioned her collection of Alice in Wonderland books.

Alice: a vintage icon
Temperley wedding dresses: inspired by more than one Alice?

Although they look pretty on your bookshelves, vintage children’s books are a great source of pictures for nurseries and children’s rooms. have a rummage in second-hand shops and you’ll be bound to find something that has illustrations that, when carefully taken out and framed, could make a lovely print for a little ‘un.

Frame for a revived modern-day look
From a vintage fairytale book
Vintage illustration

A few sources for these are of course Ebay, which regularly has the Dean & Son books being sold.

Another great find is the website Girls Gone By… which specialises in girls’s stories from the 20th century… think school girl adventures and fantastic 1940s romps…check it out:

Welcome to Girls Gone By Publishers.

Old school antics

While we are on the subject, who remembers this book – Masquerade? It sent the country out on a mass treasure hunt, following the hidden, cryptic clues within the text to find a golden hare hidden somewhere in the UK. I didn’t have a clue (pun intended) what it was all about, but loved the book nonetheless… although vaguely remember there was a scandal attached to the man who won the prize (think he was related to the author in the end – not surprisingly as it was so hard to decipher!)

Happy reminiscing – let me know of your own favourites…

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