Gretchen E Breary

Sister of the author Hilda Breary.
Popular children's annual Illustrator, and writer/illustrator of a series of books for younger readers.

Illustrated the first edition of Saville's first children's book Mystery at Witchend (Newnes 1943).

Her drawings appear to be aimed at younger readers. More at those of the twins' age than the other Lone Piners.
By having the young twins as strong characters, Saville widened the age appeal of the story, but he would wish it to 'sell' to readers in their 'teens'.
title page vignette. Click to enlarge
The Twins and Mackie
title page vignette.

The Lone Piners. Click to enlarge
The Lone Piners
These are two of the twenty-two full page illustrations that Gretchen Breary drew for the book.

On the left are the full group, clockwise from bottom right Mary, Dickie, Peter, David and Tom. Oh, and Mackie, just.
The right hand picture shows the twins and Mackie with Peter and Mrs Thurston at Appledore.

illus page 64. Click to enlarge
illus page 64

Mystery at Witchend was reprinted twice with Breary's illustrations. Then, in 1945, Bertram Prance was asked to replace the original illustrations. He had successfully illustrated the second and third books in the series, and it must have been felt that his work was more suitable for this book as well. The number of illustrations was reduced at this time to eight.
Although his illustrations have a more realistic quality than hers, and may have been chosen to complement the stories' real settings, Breary's drawings cannot be criticised for content.
Breary's Witchend.
Breary's Witchend
from the first edition wrapper
This is Breary's interpretation of the farm of Witchend, nestling in the folds of the Long Mynd.
And here is Bertram Prance's interpretation of the same scene, taken from his later wrapper for Newnes.
Prance's Witchend.
Prance's Witchend
from the later wrapper
For Prance's cover shows the same farm building.
Of course, they could both have been working to the same brief !

This page is part of the Malcolm Saville Centenary Website. To enter this site by the front door, click here.
Illustrations copyright the respective Publishers
Text copyright John Allsup
Created August 2002
last updated Feb 2010