More Dumb Soldiers in the Garden

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Wellsian illustration for RLS poem The Dumb Soldier  by Jessie Wilcox-Smith http://gutenberg.readingroo.ms/2/5/6/0/25609/25609-h/25609-h.htm

Being some illustrations of ‘The Dumb Soldier’ poem by Robert Louis Stevenson (RLS) from  A Child’s Garden of Verses (1885), as featured in our recent garden games post:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/04/23/dumb-soldiers-the-past-and-future-of-garden-wargames

I was fascinated by the discovery by Tony (of the interesting  Tin Soldiering On blog) of this type of crude wartime or postwar hollowcast figure, the plastic pound store warriors of their day, buried in the garden of the house  he grew up in whilst digging the garden

He is about 54mm (2″) scale, I’m not sure where he has come from,  my parents moved into the house in about 1946 shortly after it was built and I have lived here all my life and can’t remember ever owning him as a child so he is a bit of a mystery, but he will stand guard on my painting tray from now on … it ties in with the age of the house which was built just after the war,  my mother and father moved in on his demob in 1946 I think . Tony, Tin Soldiering On blog

http://tonystoysoldiers.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/lost-and-found.html

So I was curious to see the same type of figure unearthed and turn up for sale on an online site and bought this “Dumb soldier” to go with several others that have turned up in joblots.

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54mm-ish WW2 or post war lead hollow cast, discovered in Bristol by Dave Hough, now in my collection. The pound store plastics of their day. Looks like it’s been buried a while ….

They are very similar in style to the crude moulded figures that I produced from vintage metal moulds.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/03/more-homecasting/

The Dumb Soldier Illustrated

First is a three page spread by British illustrator Hilda Boswell (1903 – 1976) in watercolours, from her illustrated version of a Child’s Garden of Verses,  published in 1963. The first two pages are a double page spread, broken down to page by page to see more details. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilda_Boswell

Archaeologists of the future might see this toy soldier burial as some kind of  strange ritual practice. (In my experience anything Archaeologists do not understand is linked to strange ‘ritual’ practice).

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Her “Dumb Soldier” looks much like the 1960s Herald Plastic Guardsman I grew up with, first introduced in the early 1950s as plastics steadily took over from lead figures for children. So this Herald figure could easily have been the model.

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One of my Britain’s Herald Guardsman (1950s-1970s) 

The other illustration in my collection is from the late Brian Wildsmith (1930-2016), a well-known British illustrator.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Wildsmith

I was amazed and pleased to see that his  1960s illustrated version of A Child’s Garden of Verses is  back / still in print (Blackwells, 2017). So you can own a copy too!

http://brianwildsmith.com/bw.about.html

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‘The Dumb Soldier’ poem from my old bashed family copy of RLS Child’s Garden of Verses with illustration by the late Brian Wildsmith.

Lost or deliberately buried in the garden?

My late Dad as a wartime child was given some ‘lost’ metal figures including a coronation coach dredged up from his father’s employer’s  garden pond, presumably unwanted by the previous, possibly careless child owners. Long lost again many years beforei was born,  I often thought of these treasures whilst launching amphibious assaults across our garden pond and then sometimes having to root around in the pond bottom mud for the heavier casualties.

I lost plenty enough small Airfix figures in the pile of builders sand we called a sandpit. Digging one into the lawn, however good his trench or fire pit, would have led to pretty quick decapitation by 1970s hovermower.

 

B.P.S BlogPostscript

I was amazed and pleased to see that Wildsmith’s 1960s illustrated version of A Child’s Garden of Verses is back / still in print (Blackwells, 2017). So you can own a copy too!

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 30th August 2017

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20% less Pound Store Plastic Warriors for your Pound

Now only 80 figures per £1 tub where once there were 100 …

https://sidetracked2017blog.wordpress.com/2018/01/26/20-less-pound-store-plastic-warriors-for-your-pound/

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN on my occasional Sidetracked blog on the themes of my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, 26 January 2018