Monday, 31 May 2010

Monstrous Monday

Is this the origin of 'to Google'? Just when I was getting a little jaded with the formulaic nature of the 1920s Strand Magazines (those of the Victorian and Edwardian era are much more varied in terms of author, genre and non-fiction content), I'm struck between the eyes by this bizarre and colourful spread in the Christmas 1926 edition. The Google itself is there, top left. According to the article the gorgeous wildfowl are, anturally enough, Google Birds.
The surprising thing is that they weren't created by some established artist but by one of Britain's most successful engineers, V C Vickers, who designed and built ships, planes, motorbikes and armaments. The drawing and painting of these colourful critters was his gentle past-time, it would seem. Hunting round the internet I find that a book was published, The Google Book, but many years previously, in 1913. The excuse the Strand editor found for reviving them was that one of Vickers' paintings had been accepted by the Royal Academy, to his own surprise as much as anyone else's. Maybe a second edition of The Google Book was also in preparation. You can view the book online at:
The December 1926 edition had another unexpected treat, a weird and humorous (presumably, I haven't read it yet) yarn by 'A A' of Punch with at least one rather groovy illustration. So look out for that on Weird Wednesday.

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