H F Crowther Smith: The Sussex Artworks
Horace Francis Crowther Smith (1873-1959) was the third editor of the Gazette (1937-54) in succession to R Leetham Jones (1915-37), but before becoming editor he sold cartoons for publication in the Gazette, had edited other sports magazines (notably Horse) and made drawings of other sports including Rugby. He is now best known as author and artist. Seven of his books are on Croquet and recorded in the Drazin Bibliography* Smith recorded his name as H F Crowther Smith in 1911 but by 1935 had become Horace Crowther-Smith; he is indexed by the BL (and Drazin) as Smith.
A Croquet Alphabet, 1913 A160 (A125) was widely published, consisting of two alphabets. The first, entitled Explanations’ (pp 5-7) comprises two or three lines of prose for each letter (for the use of non-associates only). The second, untitled (pp 8-59), comprises a couplet of verse on each verso and a colour cartoon on the opposing recto, referring to the same players and situations previously explained’.
The Sussex County Croquet Club has seven originals from this series, in pen and watercolour. How they came to Sussex is not known and even more interesting is what may have happened to the remainder. All have the verse written on the back in Smith's own hand. The boards are stamped with his address in Surbiton, and in most cases the verse has been transcribed in what seems to be Smith's hand onto a cover sheet of poor quality paper which has deteriorated badly. An eighth original, c 1935 by which time he had moved to Richmond, is unrelated to the Croquet Alphabet or to his published series .
* Croquet - a bibliography, David Drazin. Numbers in bold A155 &c are from unpub third ed c 2011, followed by references (AA &c) from the first edition (Hardback 2000)
Click on a thumbnail to view the artwork and explanatory comments.
They are available as A4 high quality copy prints in black frames with cream mounts and can be purchased for £16 each, or £90 for the set of 8 prints, including UK p&p. Other frames, personal collection and overseas prices; on application.
These prints would make an excellent Christmas present.
All proceeds from the sale will go towards the Club’s ambitious plan to relay their lawns following over 114 years of consistent use.
Phone Peter Pullin or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Club members: Peter's phone number is on the list; CA members: check the CA Directory; All: Use email for preference.)