The Lost Generation : World War I Poetry : Hampden Gordon

Cover of Gordon and Tindall's Our Hospital. Nurse carrying tray.


Our Hospital ABC with pictures by Joyce Dennys and verses by Hampden Gordon & M. G. Tindall is a children’s picture book about an army hospital run by ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps), Britain & Canada.  Each page, end leaf, end page, and the outside book covers were printed as full-page lithographs using large blocks of color.  The white block text is printed in the same style as the pictures in red, blue, brown and occasionally green throughout the book; the end pages are plain gray with white silhouettes of people. The text of the verses are simple and in all capitals, but the content suggests this is not a children’s book: “N are the Nurses / The Right Sort of Wenches / To Look After Lads Who / Are Back from the Trenches.” Hampden Gordon and M. G. Tindall provided these delightful, sometimes bawdy verses, but it is the illustrations that steal the show.  Isobel Dorothy Joyce Dennys (1893 – 1991) was an artist, illustrator, painter and nurse. Texture within the drawings used very small dots of color.  John Lane, the publisher, contacted Dennys and asked if she would illustrate this book. Hampden Gordon and Joyce Dennys ended up collaborating on two humorous books of war time poetry, Our Hospital ABC and Rhymes of the Red Triangle. A ‘faux bookplate’ on the front end page reads “Not To Be Taken / Seriously,” reinforcing the humorous intent of the book.

The book was published in 1916 by John Lane of The Bodley Head, which took its name from the bust of Sir Thomas Bodley that sat above the shop door.  The name of the printer that provided the lithography can be found in very tiny print on the back cover: William Griggs & Sons, Ltd. Lith., Peckham, London William Griggs and Sons in 1916 in Peckham performed the lithography.  William Griggs (1832 – 1911) was the inventor of a photo-chromo-lithographic process and was a pioneer in the use of color printing.

Find Our Hospital in the UNT Library Catalog.