Guest Post: Philip Gough, Jane Austen Illustrator ~ by Hazel Mills

Gentle Readers: I welcome today, Hazel Mills, who has most generously written a post about one of Austen’s many illustrators, Philip Gough. I had written two posts on Gough [see below for links] but little was known about him personally. Hazel has done some extensive research into his life and works, and she shares this most interesting information with us here. Thank you Hazel!

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Philip Henry Cecil Gough

by Hazel Mills

          The artist, Philip Henry Cecil Gough, was born on the 11th June 1908 in Warrington, Lancashire, England, the eldest of four children. He was born to Cyril Philip Gough and Winifred Mary Hutchings.

          Philip was from a long line of leather tanners, curriers and bark factors, the latter using bark to soften leather. His family were wealthy owners of tanneries with evidence of his father travelling abroad to the USA in 1925 on business.

          Philip’s paternal grandfather, also a Philip, had carried on the family business in Wem, Cheshire with two of his three brothers. It obviously provided a good income as all four brothers had been to private boarding schools. In 1880, the tannery company of grandfather, Philip, and his brother was dissolved and Philip continued alone.[1]

          It is Philip’s maternal side that gives us the clue to his artistic side. His mother Winifred, also born into a family of tanners, travelled to Brussels to study Art and Music before her marriage. She also played the viola in various orchestras. [2]

          Before 1914 the Gough family moved to Moore, near Runcorn in Cheshire [3] and then in 1921, at the age of 12, Philip was sent to Loretto School, just outside Edinburgh, Scotland, as a boarder.[4] On the 4th and 5th April of that year Philip assisted in the painting of the scenery in the staging of “Much Ado About Nothing” [5] in the gymnasium of the school. The art master he assisted was Colonel Buchanan-Dunlop, who, during the famous ceasefire at Christmas 1914, led the singing of the carols from a sheet sent to him from Loretto School. [6]

          Again in 1924, Philip painted scenery for the school production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, which was performed in aid of the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, again assisting Col. Buchanan-Dunlop. [7]

Liverpool Art School record

          Philip left school in 1925. [8] It is known that he attended art school in Cornwall and Liverpool. He entered Liverpool College of Art in February 1926 and a year later, while still at the college, designed the scenery for the pantomime, “Robinson Crusoe”, at the Garrick Theatre in London. In 1928, after leaving the Liverpool College of Art, he designed about 60 costumes for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for the Liverpool Playhouse with a photo being published in the “Graphic newspaper” on 19th January 1929 [9] It is also thought that he designed shop windows around this time.

Midsummer Night’s Dream – Gough scenery and costumes

          1929 saw Philip working on a prestigious new project. He was responsible for all the scenery and costumes for A.A. Milne’s new play, “Toad of Toad Hall” at the Liverpool Playhouse, based on Kenneth Grahame’s book, “Wind in the Willows”. “The Stage” described Philip’s work as “both novel and extremely beautiful”. [10] At this time, Philip was still only twenty one years old. A.A. Milne also wrote a play of “Pride and Prejudice” called “Miss Elizabeth Bennet”. This was also produced at the Liverpool Playhouse. But sadly it was not Philip that did the scenery for this one, but a Charles Thomas. [11]

          In September of the following year, Philip designed scenery and costumes for “Charlots’s Masquerade”, a variety show at the Cambridge Theatre in London. There is even some Pathé News footage of this in existence. [you can view it here:

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It must be around this time that Philip meets his first wife, Mary O’Gorman, as the London Electoral register of 1930 shows him living in what appears to be a lodging house at the same address as her. It’s not know if they were actually living together as the listing is just alphabetical. Over the next eight years Gough is involved in costume and set design for at least seven productions, the first two at the Liverpool Playhouse but the following ones were all in various locations in London.

          Towards the end of this time the first book illustrated by Gough that I could find was the wonderfully named*, For Your Convenience: a learned dialogue instructive to all Londoners & London visitors, overheard in the Thélème Club and taken down verbatim by Paul Fry, [pseudonym for Thomas Burke] and published by Routledge in 1937.

“For Your Convenience”
“For Your Convenience” endpaper map

[* this book is republished today as For Your Convenience: A Classic 1930’s Guide to London Loos – in 1937 it was a heavily disguised guide to London toilets for homosexual encounters.]

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In 1939 Philip married Mary Catherine O’Gorman in Chelsea. The 1939 England and Wales register shows the married couple living in elegant  Walpole Street, Chelsea. The house is again the home of what appears to be boarders. Philip is described as working as an artist and designer of theatrical scenery, Mary is a secondary school teacher.

The following year Philip worked on “The Country Wife” at the Little Theatre, Haymarket, London and The Illustrated London News reported that the “décor by  Mr. Philip Gough is the chief charm of this production.” [12]

“New Book of Days”

         

The next few years, over the time of the Second World War, seem to be a very quiet time for Philip. I can only find his illustration of a book by Eleanor Farjeon called The New Book of Days, an anthology of rhymes, proverbial tales, traditions, short essays, biographical sketches and miscellaneous information, one piece for each day of the year. In 1936, Philip had also designed the sets and costumes for a play by Eleanor and Hubert Farjeon, called “The Two Bouquets”.

Philip’s father died in 1946 when Philip was still living in Chelsea. In 1948 he appears to have left his wife and is now living at another address in Chelsea with a Joan Sinclair.

1947 was a prolific year as a book illustrator, with four books for Peter Lunn publishers including “Fairy Tales” by Hans Christian Andersen. The following year would be his foray into Jane Austen Novels with the 1948 publication of Emma, published by MacDonald for their Illustrated Classics series. 

I have tracked down forty-two books between 1937 and 1973 where he drew illustrations throughout, but in addition Philip designed many, many more dust jackets for novels such as those of Georgette Heyer:

and non fiction tiles such as 1960s reprints of the four volume “A History of Everyday Things in England” that first appeared in 1918:


Philip also did a few more set designs in the 1950s but more of his time was spent illustrating books including Pride and Prejudice (1951), Mansfield Park (1957) and Sense and Sensibility (1958) for Macdonald. You can see many of the illustrations here:

https://janeausteninvermont.blog/2021/08/15/collecting-jane-austen-macdonald-illustrated-classics-illus-by-philip-gough/

and here:

https://janeausteninvermont.blog/2014/12/30/jane-austens-mansfield-park-in-pictures-the-illustrations-of-philip-gough/

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In Philip’s personal life, tragedy hit when his mother was killed in an accident when she was hit by an army truck in 1952.  Philip married Joan in 1953 which is the last year in which I can find any more set and costume designing.

Northanger Abbey

          1961 saw the Macdonald publication of both Northanger Abbey and Persuasion with his illustrations and he continued to illustrate books until at least 1973.

          Philip Gough died in London on 24th February 1986, leaving a fortune of £42,661.

          Philip’s sisters also deserve a mention. Sheila May Gough was qualified as a nurse and during WWII joined the ‘Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service’. She served in Europe before being posted to Malta.  In 1943 Malta became the base for the invasion of Sicily.  It was codenamed ‘Operation Husky’ and began on the night of 9 July and lasted for six weeks.  Sheila was awarded the ‘Associate of the Royal Red Cross’ for “special devotion to duty…and complete disregard for her own safety”. [13] Sheila remained unmarried until the age of 58, in 1975, when she married Donald Verner Taylor C.B.E. who had been in the Army Dental Corps in Malta at the same time as her.

          Less is known of his sister Gwendoline Winifred other than she was a school teacher at a boarding school in Nottingham in 1939 [14] but in 1941 sailed to South Africa where she stayed until 1946. [15] More is known of  Brenda Irene, or rather Flight Officer Brenda Irene Gough. The 1939 register records that Brenda was working as a secretary for the Civil Nursing Reserve and living in Wimbledon.  She joined the WAAF (The Women’s Auxiliary Air Force) after May 1941 .  In 1943, Brenda was promoted to Section Officer in the Administrative and Special Services Branch and later promoted to Flying Officer.  During the war women were paid two thirds of the salary of their male counterparts.

Philip Gough has left an enormous body of work and original works of his illustrations can achieve high prices today, for example, a signed original gouache artwork  for the dust wrapper to Georgette Heyer’s The Foundling currently commands a price of around $2,500.

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Footnotes:

  1. The London gazette May 27 1881
  2. Obituary Cheshire Observer Dec 01 1951
  3. Kelly’s Directory 1914
  4. https://archives.loretto.com/archive/the-lorettonian/1921-vol-44/777604-1921-vol-44-0031jpg?q=gough
  5. https://archives.loretto.com/archive/the-lorettonian/1923-vol-46/777827-1923-vol-46-0026jpg?q=gough
  6. https://www.loretto.com/christmas-truce-commemoration/47361.html
  7. https://archives.loretto.com/archive/the-lorettonian/1924-vol-47/777740?q=gough
  8. https://archives.loretto.com/archive/the-lorettonian/1925-vol-48/777849?q=gough
  9. The Graphic – Saturday 19 January 1929
  10. The Stage – Thursday 26 December 1929
  11. The Era – Wednesday 9 September 1936
  12. Illustrated London News – Saturday 20 April 1940
  13. National Archives
  14. 1939 England and Wales Register
  15. UK incoming and Outgoing passenger lists

Image acknowledgements:

  • Liverpool College of Art Record -Liverpool College of Art Archives
  • Mid summer Night’s Dream Image courtesy of Mary Evans Picture Library (c) Illustrated London News/Mary Evans Picture Library.
  • For Your Convenience images – Care of Daniel Crouch Rare Books – crouchrarebooks.com

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Author bio:

Hazel Mills is a retired science teacher and a founder member and Chair of the Cambridge Group of the UK Jane Austen Society. Until her move to Denmark, she was a Regional Speaker for the Society. Hazel discovered Austen as a thirteen year old Dorset schoolgirl when reading Pride and Prejudice and fell in love for the first time with Mr Darcy. She has researched the history of Jane Austen’s time, presenting illustrated talks, around England and Scotland, on diverse subjects including: Travel and Carriages in Jane Austen’s time; the Life of John Rawstorn Papillon, Rector of Chawton; Food production and Dining; Amateur Theatricals at Steventon, and the Illustrators of Austen’s novels. She lives in a lovely house overlooking the sea with her husband who built her a library to house her extensive Austen collection, which includes over 230 different copies of Pride and Prejudice.

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Do you have a favorite Philip Gough illustration?? Please leave a comment below.

©2022, Jane Austen in Vermont and Hazel Mills

7 thoughts on “Guest Post: Philip Gough, Jane Austen Illustrator ~ by Hazel Mills

  1. Thank you for sharing this wonderful information, Hazel. You have compiled a worthy tribute. I own two copies of Gough’s illustrated Jane Austen novels: Emma, and Mansfield Park. I love his work. It is similar to Rex Whistler who designed the costumes and sets for the 1936 London stage production of Pride and Prejudice. Since they were both stage production artists working in London, they must have known each other and influenced each other’s work. Gough and his family lead fascinating lives.

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    • Thank you so much. It was really fascinating research with me learning a great deal about tanning! I agree, I am sure Whistler and Gough must have known each other. I would imagine the set designers, particularly in London, took a great deal of interest in each other’s work. Thank you so much for commenting.

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  2. Really enjoyed reading this Hazel. I love the ,”Tide Coming,” illustration. Reminds me of holidays on the Isle of Wight, not that I wore a costume anything like portrayed in the picture. I wonder if it is a real place? It reminds me of a few locations along the south coast as well as the Isle of Wight. It could be an imaginary place based on Gough’s knowledge of the coast of course.

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    • I am so pleased you have enjoyed it Tony. We used to go to “The Island” a lot when I was a child. (I grew up between Bournemouth and Poole. We would get the train to Lymington then go across on the ferry from there. Beautiful place.

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  3. A thought Hazel, from a poetic literary point of view, it could be ,”Shakespeare Cliff” ,just outside of Dover. However Shakespeare Cliff doesn’t have a castle on the top, but if you were to stand on the beach, if it was Shakespeare Cliff, and turned in the opposite direction you would see Dover Castle. It fits with the steam ship and the bathing machines too. You have got me going now, Hazel !! Ha! Ha!

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    • It does look very much like Shakespeare Cliff! I know that Gough would use existing illustrations and change them to fir his needs. An example is in Lyme Regis. He took an existing print of the Cobb Gate from Bell Cliff drawn 1844 and made it into an illustration for Persuasion. I’ll send you the images.

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  4. Thankyou for this interesting information about PG. My personal favourite is of the Red House from Cynthia Asquith’s Annual.

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