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Nostalgia // The Observer’s Book of…

When I was a girl, I loved pony books. Mostly ones with stories – the Pullin-Thompson sisters especially. They had clearly been written in the 50s or 60s, and talked about an idealised countryside that I’m not sure ever really existed. Along side that, I rode horses and ponies, when my parents were able to scrape together the money for lessons, and I endlessly leafed through books like the Observer’s Book of Horses & Ponies.

The Observer Book of Architecture

The Observer Book of Architecture

Whilst perusing a bookstore during the summer, I came across a copy of the Observers Book of Architecture and was immediately transported back to my childhood. It wasn’t just the cloth texture of the cover, or the bindings, but the quality of the illustrations.

 

I wanted another copy of my childhood favourite. It wasn’t long before I found a copy online for about £2. Sadly, when it arrived it had the newer, shinier pages of the 1968 edition, rather than the 1940s run.

Observer Book of Horses & Ponies

Observer Book of Horses & Ponies

Happily, the illustrations didn’t disappoint

Diagrams

Diagrams in the front cover

I had a flick through, and was surprised to come across some images that were well…not photos, but drawings. Horses that the original publishers were unable to photograph included the Manipuri, the ‘Spanish’, the ‘Mustang’, the Danish, the ‘Persian’ (??), Burmese, Brabancon, and the Batak/Deli Pony. The Manipuri, Burmese and Batak/Deli pony having to be drawn is not entirely surprising, given the time period the book was published in and the location of the breeds, but the Brabancon and Danish are from Belgium and Denmark respectively. Plus, they must have found an artist who knew what these obscure breeds looked like, if they couldn’t get photos.

The real Manipuri looks something like this. Thanks internet.

Although internet doesn’t have quite the same nostalgia prompting smell of a 1970s book.

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