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Petherick, Rosa (1871-1931)

Rosa Clementina Petherick was born in 1871 in Addiscombe, Croydon. She was the eldest of five daughters born to the artist Horace William Petherick (1839-1919), whose black-and-white illustrations were frequently reproduced in periodicals. In the census of 1891 she and her four younger sisters are listed as living with their parents, William and Clementina, in Maple Lodge, at 25, Havelock Road, Croydon, and Rosa is recorded as an "art student". In the summer of 1896 she gained an "honourable mention" in a competition in The Studio, and her drawing of a lady picking flowers was reproduced under the pseudonym "Grumbler".

Toy trains [1909].

Toy trains. [London]: Nelson, [1909]. Shelfmark: YK.2000.b.290. © The British Library Board


Horace Petherick is recorded as the householder until 1920, after which the Misses Petherick (including Rosa?) lived there until 1927. Rosa died suddenly in Brighton on 28th December 1931, and was given a brief obituary in The Times. This mentions that her etchings were to be found in the National Portrait Galley, that the music publisher Robert E. Mack took an interest in her work, and that she left three sisters "well known in the musical world".

May Byron, The Teddy bear book.

May Byron, The Teddy bear book. London: Henry Frowde and Hodder and Stoughton, [1915]. Shelfmark: Cover. 20 x 17cm. © The British Library Board


Her illustrations of children and their toys were used by many publishers. They appear in numerous annuals and compilation volumes, particularly those produced by the prolific firm of Blackie and Son. Three colour plates are found in the 1931 Little One's annual by Blackie which are still full of movement and humour. Her early work is similar to that of many Victorian illustrators, but as her skills developed, the outlines become bolder, the colours simpler, and the compositions more striking, following the "poster" style made popular by John Hassall. Her work is often signed in full, Rosa C. Petherick, but she also developed a monogram of a backward-facing "R" sharing the upright with a "P", with a "C" superimposed.

The Dolly scouts

The Dolly scouts. London: Blackie and Son, [1923]. Shelfmark: YK.1996.b.16449. Cover. 28 x 19cm. © The British Library Board



Rosa Petherick contributed drawings to a huge number of picture books compiled from the works of many artists, annuals and periodicals. Here are a few items, listed by date of publication, for which she was the sole illustrator.

Mother Hubbard's cupboard of nursery rhymes. [London]: Thomas Nelson & Sons, [1902]. Shelfmark: LB.37.c.327.

Hello. London: Alf Cooke Ltd., [1905]. Shelfmark: YK.1996.b.16807.

May Byron, The Poor dear dollies. London: Henry Frowde and Hodder and Stoughton, 1909. Shelfmark: 12804.y.13

Toy trains. [London]: Nelson, [1909]. Shelfmark: YK.2000.b.290; Reprinted, [1920]. Shelfmark: YK.2000.b.291.

Toy boats. [London]: T. Nelson & Sons, [1910]. Shelfmark: YK.1999.b.9539.

May Byron, The Teddy bear book. London: Henry Frowde and Hodder and Stoughton, [1915]. Shelfmark:

Christmas ABC. [London]: Nelson, [1917]. Shelfmark: YK.2000.b.235.

Curly-locks. London: Humphrey Milford, [1919]. Shelfmark: YK.1999.a.1999.

Wee Willie Winkie. London: Humphrey Milford, 1919. Shelfmark: YK.1999.a.2000.

Ships and soldiers. [London]: Nelson, [1922]. Shelfmark: YK.1999.b.8576.

Teddy bear. [London]: Thomas Nelson & Sons, [1922]. Shelfmark: YK.1999.b.8632.

Baby's pets. London: Humphrey Milford, [1923]. Shelfmark: YK.1999.a.2018.

Baby's picture book. London: Humphrey Milford, [1923]. Shelfmark: YK.1999.a.2019.

The Dolly scouts. [Cover illustration by Rosa Petherick who is probably responsible for the other illustrations]. London: Blackie & Son, [1923]. Shelfmark: YK.1996.b.16449.

Baby's toy book. London: Humphrey Milford, [1924]. Shelfmark: YK.1999.a.2011.

Pretty Polly. London: Humphrey Milford, [1924]. Shelfmark: YK.1999.b.2232.

Seaside sunshine: a story book for young readers. London: G.J. Galloway, [1926]. Shelfmark: YK.1998.b.7126.