Upton, Florence Kate (1873-1922) by Scholes, Robert

Florence Kate Upton (1873 – 1922) She was born in New York, to English parents. After the death of her father in 1899, she and her mother returned to England. In 1895 at the age of 22, Florence illustrated her first book, written by her mother.It was called the Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and it involved a Gollywogg. The book was a children’s story about Florence’s own childhood dolls. From a bookseller’s notice (ZENTRALES VERZEICHNIS ANTIQUARISCHER B√úCHER ) that contains some of the best information available about this artist and her mother: UPTON, Florence K, Illustrator; UPTON, Bertha. The Golliwogg’s “Auto-Go-Cart”. Longmans, London 1901 First edition. Landscape 4to. (22 x 28cm), 66pp., illustrated colour title page and 30 colour plates (1 double-page), numerous monochrome illustrations in the text, original colour printed boards backed with green cloth, a fine copy. An amusing book with bright colour plates by Florence Kate Upton (1873-1922) and verse by her mother, Bertha (Hudson) Upton (1849-1912). The Golliwog (originally spelled Golliwogg), or doll fashioned in grotesque caricature of a Black man, began life as a story book character created by the Anglo-American illustrator, Florence Upton. The Golliwogg was based on a Black minstrel doll that Upton had played with as a small child in New York. Florence Upton’s creation was embraced by the English public, and Golliwogg became a national star. The Uptons did not copyright the Golliwogg, and he became a common Toyland character in children’s books. In the 1960’s Golliwog emblems were seen as symbols of racial insensitivity because some writers such as Enid Blyton described them as being rude, mean spirited and ugly. However, unlike Blyton’s, Upton’s Golliwogg was curious and sometimes ridiculous, but, in the main, gallant and ‘adorable’. Osborne p83.

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