Normal Rockwell, move aside. It turns out there’s another famous artist named “Norman”… Norman Thelwell. Born in 1923, Thelwell was a prolific cartoonist. His scope was broad and his interests vast, but his best-known subjects are fat little horses with attitudes. So much so that they’re known as Thelwell Ponies.
His first published collection of Thelwell Ponies was in 1956, titled “Angels on Horseback”. And the reason I’m making like an encyclopedia is because we recently obtained a number of original prints by Thelwell taken from his book “Riding Academy”, published in 1964.
This ties into Monique’s latest venture on eBay, selling (of course) vintage and antique art prints. We’ve had a number of different styles of original prints up for sale, but I like Thelwell’s the best so far. Maybe because he’s a humorist. The prints we have are all chuckle-inducing. At first glance, they remind me of Charles Addams work. (Yes, of The Addams Family fame.) Just without the morbid humor. Thelwell’s sense of humor is wholesome and true to human (and horse) nature.
The first one I actually saw was a two-parter. The first page was a group of young ladies (little girls, really) all sitting on their horses and smiling, with the caption “Never shout Gee Up…”
With the next page, there’s a man who’s obviously fallen off his horse, with said horse scampering off into the horizon. This page reads “When teacher is mounting”.
The humor is horse-related, but has a universal appeal. Monique has these listed, and if you click the image, you’ll be taken to the auction (if it’s still available). These two prints are un-matted, and have alternate images on the reverse side. They measure roughly 5 3/4″ x 8″.
Looking through our collection, I see plenty to make me laugh. The humor is dated, and like I mentioned, horse-and-little-girl-specific. But still universal enough to make just about anybody smile. Some are hard to describe, but make perfect sense in the picture. Like the below image: Once in the Saddle…
In one brief image, several things are going on. The horse, who emphatically does NOT want someone on his back. The little girl, hanging on to the saddle upside down for dear life. The cloud of dust under the little ponie’s feet, showing the height he’s reaching. The plume of breath from his nose, and his eyes squinted shut, showing the effort he’s putting into it. All alone, the image speaks well for itself. When you read the caption, you get the full impact of the humor. Or irony.
Again, it’s difficult to describe. Better just to see for yourself.
I’ve been promising (or threatening) to feature specific images here, and share the prints as the mood strikes and time allows. Guess today was the day to begin. Keep watching, there’s plenty more to come!