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