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Celebrating Illustration, Design, Cartoon and Comic Art of the Mid-20th Century

Horace C. Gaffron: "... just incredible"

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

By guest author David Roach

A few examples of good wholesome apple pie covers from the '30s and '40s for you. The artist is Horace C. Gaffron and in my opinion he’s just incredible – not too far behind Rockwell in sheer drawing ability.

Gaffron07

So why am I showing them to you? Because it turns out he’s a Brit! I’m pretty sure he was the first British artist to move to the US as a professional illustrator ( Robert Fawcett was a Brit too of course, but I don’t think he ever actually worked in the UK ).

Gaffron05

More than that he was a veteran of the Somme who lost his leg there but actually lived to 102.

Gaffron04

He seems to have returned to Britain in the '50s where he drew for various children's annuals and in the '60s he worked for Look And Learn painting religious themes.

Gaffron02]

What I’d love to know is what else he did in America and why I’d never heard of his U.S. work before. Some websites list him as American but he’s definitely not – his nickname was Jock for heavens sake!

Gaffron06

I wonder if anyone else has heard of him – he seems to be something of a lost Illustration giant – I mean just look at that Christmas cover!

Gaffron01

One other thing worth mentioning is the very unusual cover layout Gaffron often used, where we have a big image and underneath it a smaller, wider angle that either comments, expands or undermines the main image. Sort of like a two panel comic strip and surely unique in cover design.

Gaffron03

I’m really thrilled and very intrigued to hear what, if anything, this post brings out of the woodwork. I’d love it if people could send in any new scans as well if they know of other things by Gaffron. I’m genuinely curious to see what comes up.

You never know what TI's readers will come up with!

* Thanks David! Readers can leave comments or contact me (Leif) via email at leifpeng[at]gmail[dot]com and I will forward your messages to David.

* My Horace C. Gaffron Flickr set

9 comments

  1. I don't think Gaffron was the first -or only- illustrator to cross the Atlantic to ply his trade.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Charlie Allen5:00 PM

    In my ancient and jaundiced opinion, Gaffron was not qualified to wash Norman Rockwell's brushes. Not even in the same league!

    ReplyDelete
  3. The top cover might be American, but the rest are British editions of Good Housekeeping: note the price.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm very fond of those pigeons and the other animals here.

    All of them don't look dated at all.

    ReplyDelete
  5. David - This is Chris Hayton here. I don't know if you remember me but I used to sell you comics in Cardiff back in the late 70s/early 80s when I worked in the comic shop in the antiques market. You were still a young lad back then! Anyway, this post of yours about Gaffron is great - a new artist for me, and one I have instantly taken a liking to. The similarity to Rockwell is there but at the same time his style is distinct. I would not go as far as to say he's not in the same league. You've provided some nice examples that demonstrate considerable talent.

    The real reason I'm posting over here though is I was directed here by someone commenting on my comics blog, Out of This World. I have an unidentified artist on a British romance story and I'm advised that you are quite the expert on this kind of material. If you have a minute, and if you wouldn't mind, please could you take a look at the art and identify the artist if possible. It is at:

    http://kb-outofthisworld.blogspot.com/2010/08/british-romance-comics-star-love.html

    Thanks in anticipation.

    Chris

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mr. Gaffron never moved to the U.S. although he did travel to the U.S. quite often due to the fact his publisher was here but his studio was located in Scotland. He lived to the age 103, almost made it to 104. He was also the last living Gordon Highlander. He was also my grandfather. My name is Cameron Gaffron

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous10:00 PM

    My maiden name is Gaffron. I have not met any Gaffrons who I did not know I was related to. This is very intersting.

    ReplyDelete
  8. maryrocket7:19 AM

    How my parents knew Horace Gaffron I've no idea, but they did. We lived in Merton Park in London, so he must have been around there when he drew me for the first Collins Girl's Annual cover, published in 1953. He also drew our family for Oxo ads. Both my sister and myself were used along with my Grandfather and, on one occasion, a lad from down the road. In that one I'm having a pillow fight with him - I remember it being great fun! Horace was amazingly kind and gave me one of his original paintings as a wedding present in 1966. It has always been on display and is greatly loved.If anyone knows where I could find copies of early 50s Oxo ads, I'd be delighted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:15 AM

      Hello there I have the original Artwork for the September 1937 issue of Good Housekeeping. It is framed & the framers label is for Wimbledon too

      Delete

 

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