Allen W. Seaby (1867-1953)

Full name Allen William Seaby. Born in London in 1867. Spent most of his life in Reading.

A talented artist who illustrated many books on nature, ornithology and other animals, including some Ladybird books. He was Professor of Art at Reading University from 1920 to 1933. He also wrote and illustrated a number of pony books based on various breeds of native pony. He was interested in conservation of both native breeds and native ways of life, and his pony books were both an attempt to promote the native pony as a child's mount, and a celebration of the British countryside and the way of life therein. Unfortunately the stories are slightly rambling and episodic and reflect the author's skill as an artist rather than that of a writer. However they are interesting for their descriptions of countryside life and of course for the wonderful drawings.

His most popular and well-known pony books are the 'Skewbald' series about New Forest ponies. He was particularly interested in this area and its ponies, having spent any holidays with his family there, and even buying a plot of land and building a small hut there so he had a base from which to watch and sketch the ponies. Ironically however, the skewbald is not a recognised colour in the New Forest breed!

As well as his own pony stories, he also illustrated pony books by other authors notably
Doney by Primrose Cumming


Skewbald Series:
Short series about New Forest ponies.

1) SKEWBALD THE NEW FOREST PONY
(A & C BLACK 1923)

2) SONS OF SKEWBALD OR CAST0R AND POLLUX
(A & C BLACK 1937)

Collectors Info:
All editions are hardbacks. Reasonably easy to find on internet bookshops, although those with jackets are a lot scarcer.

Other Horse & Pony Books:

EXMOOR LASS AND OTHER PONY STORIES
(A & C BLACK 1928)
SUMMARY: Contains six stories about native ponies from different parts of the UK.

DINAH, THE DARTMOOR PONY
( A & C BLACK 1935)
SUMMARY: Story of a Dartmoor mare.

SHELTIE THE SHETLAND PONY
(A & C BLACK 1939)
SUMMARY: Sheltie is taken from his native home in Scotland to become a circus pony. Hard to find

MONA THE WELSH PONY
(A & C BLACK 1948)
SUMMARY: The story of a Welsh mare from her foalhood to her old age, interspersed with the stories of the people who come into contact with her and the wildlife of the area.
PONYMAD RATING: 2 HORSESHOES

Collectors Info:
All editions are hardbacks. Harder to find than the Skewbald books. Dinah is the easiest one to pick up and Sheltie and Mona are the rarest and are usually fairly expensive to buy.

Non-fiction:
Beautifully illustrated guides to the native ponies of the British Isles

OUR PONIES
(PENGUIN PB 1949)

BRITISH PONIES RUNNING WILD AND RIDDEN
(A & C BLACK LTD 1936)

Collectors Info:
Our Ponies is fairly easy to find and relatively cheap. The other one is rarer and more valuable.