Rosemary Sutcliff and her illustrators have featured here before: strangely you might think, under the heading "Jamie Bell's Bottom" That was a post about her Eagle of the Ninth book and subsequent film. That book, and a number of others she wrote, was illustrated by Walter Hodges. This one that I picked up the other day in Chichester is the story of a boy from a Bronze Age Tribe on what are now the South Downs, it is the story of his initiation into manhood in the tribe and his striving to win the warrior's scarlet cloth, hence the title. The illustrations are by Charles Keeping (1924-1988), about whom, for a change, Wikipedia appears to know quite a bit. He was an illustrator, lithographer and children's author in his own right. It was is work for a number of Sutcliff's novels - and she wrote a lot - that brought him to prominence.
More interesting to me is his style. It is, whilst definitely his own, also part of a tradition of illustration from the mid-twentieth century that is particularly prevalent in children's books but which can be seen elsewhere too, which is inky, scribbly, scratchy and sketchy, and yet is still quite controlled and in which, even at the height of the 1950s/60s you can still see the influence of the black and white masters of the turn of the last century in the way that white space and black line are used. I am continually shocked that no-one has yet written the definitive study of this period in illustration and also that this style doesn't yet have a name...!
Illustration for children's books, older children's books, has more or less died a death now but this one shows just how sophisticated it could become with shaped illustrations becoming part of the page layout - not something to be seen in every illustrated book, even in the last century.