Unforgettable: Laurian Jones’ horse drawings

National Velvet by Enid Bagnold Penguin edition 1951

National Velvet by Enid Bagnold

I’ve got a very ancient, yellowing Penguin edition of National Velvet from the early 1950s; not the actual copy I read as a child, just something I’ve picked up along the way and put on the shelf for the day when I would want it.

But glancing inside when I was writing my recent post on My Top Horses in Children’s Books, the simple and evocative drawings by Laurian Jones took me right back. Of course these were the illustrations that go with the book. Once you’ve seen these, nothing else will do.

title page of National Velvet by Enid Bagnold with drawings by Laurian Jones

There aren’t many of these drawings. They appear almost at random through the text, sometimes few and far between, sometimes in a cluster.

drawing by Laurian Jones for National Velvet by Enid Bagnold

Some seem very rudimentary but all have an amazing energy – capturing the basic shape and sense and speed of horses in motion. They remind me of cave paintings, or images in Etruscan art.

cave painting horse

Etruscan bronze horse

Etruscan bronze horse

It turns out that Laurian Jones was Enid Bagnold’s daughter. Mother and daughter, in their different ways, have given us unforgettable horses.

drawing by Laurian Jones fro Enid Bagnold's National velvet