Sheppard, Raymond

(1913 – 1958)

H.M.S. Goliath and The end of the Konisberg


Inscribed with title
Pen and ink with highlights in white, 3 3/4 x 7 in. (9.5 x 18 cm.), 7 1/4 x 10 1/2 in. (18.5 x 27 cm. framed)

1 in stock


The Artist’s Estate; Private collection

Between 1934 and 1958 Sheppard illustrated well over 100
books. The majority of these date from the 1950’s when Sheppard
was often illustrating as many as ten a year – a prodigious
rate tragically cut short by his death at the age of 45. Commissions
from over fifteen publishing houses (Hutchinson, Blackie
and Son, Macmillan, Oxford University Press, Faber and Faber)
included illustrations for leading authors of the day such as Enid
Blyton, (two books in 1948 as well contributing to a regular annual
she wrote all the stories for), Jim Corbett (six titles between
1947 and 1955) and, perhaps most notable of all, a commission
in 1952 (shared with Tunnicliffe) to illustrate Ernest Hemingway’s
The Old Man and the Sea.

Equally successful was Sheppard’s career as an illustrator for comics
such as Eagle, Girl, and Swift, and magazines such as Boy’s Own
Paper, Lilliput, Everbody’s, Picture Post, and Reynolds News. Lilliput
was founded in 1937 by Stefan Lorant , (the photo journalist who
later created Picture Post), with a subtitle of “The Pocket Magazine
for Everyone.” Its original size was allegedly such that it could be
slipped into a soldier’s trenchcoat and was no doubt read in many
an air-raid shelter in that handy size. During its 23 year run the
magazine contained the illustrations of Mervyn Peake, Eric Fraser,
Frank Bellamy (of Dan Dare fame) and, perhaps most famously,
Ronald Searle’s cartoon series St. Trinians. The magazine became
known for its photographs too, with work by Brassai, Zoltan
Glass and also Bill Brandt. The magazine subtitle was changed
in September 1954 to ‚ÄúLilliput is a Man’s Magazine‚Äù . From a
starting position of 216,562 in 1938 – double that of Punch at the
time – by May 1959 Lilliput was only selling circa102,000 copies
– number 277, July 1960, was the last issue at which point it was
merged with Men Only.

EH Gombrich  references Raymond Sheppard’s ‘How to Draw Birds’, and includes a reproduction of one of his drawings,  in his celebrated treatise ‘Art and Illusion’, (1960).


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Sheppard, Raymond

1913 – 1958

Raymond Sheppard; Artist in water-colour, black and white, oil, pastel;
Born London 3 March 1913; son of Edward and Annie Sheppard.

Married Iris Gale on December 3rd 1942; had one daughter Christine born 17
March 1944, and one son Michael born 25th July 1946. Educated
Christ’s College, Finchley, north west London.

Studied art at Bolt Court under S.G. Boxsius.

R.A; R.I; R.S.A; Work reproduced regularly in publications
including Lilliput ; The Studio, Picture Post, John Bull, Everybody’s ;
in children’s books, nature books and calendars.

Raymond Sheppard produced many studies of birds and animals from life, mainly
at Regents Park Zoo and was made a Fellow of the Zoological Society in
1949. He also painted landscapes, family portraits, in watercolour,
oil, and pastels . He was a founder member of the Wapping Arts Group, a
group of artists who sketched and painted by and around the river
Thames in London, which was formed just before WW2 but did not start in
earnest until 1946.

Publications: How to Draw Birds (first
published by Studio in 1940), Drawing at the Zoo (1949 Studio), More
Birds to Draw (Studio 1956).

Lived in Kenton and then Harrow Weald, Middx. Clubs: Chelsea Arts, Langham Sketch.

Raymond Sheppard died in London of cancer in 1958 with which he had battled
since 1949. He also served in the RAF photographic section during the
WW2. Despite long periods of ill health and the interruption of the War
years he was, nevertheless, prolific in demonstrating his wide range of
artistic ability as a master draughtsman, illustrator, and landscape
and wildlife artist.

Had Raymond Sheppard lived beyond his mid 40s his reputation as one of the foremost illustrators of his generation might have been secured ‘ his premature death resulted in his name sinking into obscurity for half a century. Only his prolific career as an illustrator (nearly 100 children’s books in the single decade following the end of WW2) has prevented his name from disappearing altogether and secured him a credible place in the standard reference works of the period. What has never been appreciated before is the remarkable diversity of Raymond Sheppard’s oeuvre. Aside from his more familiar studies of wildlife his studio has revealed a series of remarkable portraits, thrilling boy’s-own period illustrations, plein air seascapes, landscapes, views of the Thames and surreal compositions, which at times verge on abstraction. All have in common Sheppard’s stated aim to express his inner emotion: “…that peculiar, unexplainable tightening inside that makes you want to laugh sometimes, sometimes to sing and dance for joy, and sometimes just a little sad.


Raymond Sheppard
Mother attending to her two kittens, 1913-1958
Raymond Sheppard
Monarch of the Glen, circa 1935
Raymond Sheppard
Polar Bear, glancing right
Raymond Sheppard
Study of a Tiger
Raymond Sheppard
Sea Forms, circa 1950
Raymond Sheppard
Leave it to Jones, 1956