Sally Castle
The Happy Prince, complete book illustrated and hand lettered

Children's Publishing

Commissioned | Professional

Why did you make this work:
The book is a tale about doing good deeds to help others. I began illustrating it as a personal project during lockdown, the story seemed particularly apt at that time. I decided to set the story in Reading - my home town and a connection to Oscar. The book is a small format to fit a child’s hands, like a treasure. Wilde’s message resonates with us still, more than 100 years on.

How was the illustration used:
The Prince is based on the Jack of Hearts, who won his crown through sacrifice for love; and Reading Gaol becomes a castle. Wilde used a fairy tale world both to satirise and challenge his readers.

How did you make this work:
I hand-lettered the text in a style loosely based on copperplate, to give the feel of a notebook. Perhaps this is how Oscar wrote it? I set the story in Reading and some will recognise scenes and buildings: the Co-op at Cemetery Junction is the Sans Souci Palace and Cemetery Arch becomes the Temple of Baalbec. Strangers to Reading might see fairy tale buildings in their own towns.

Commissioner Name :
Two Rivers Press
Commissioner Company :
Two Rivers Press

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Currently Based:
Ruscombe, Berkshire UK

Sally studied at Maidstone College of Art and an MA University of Reading. She has a reputation for original hand-lettering and a particular interest in printmaking, environmental lettering and mixed media artwork. Sally has designed covers and illustrated over forty books for Two Rivers Press including the covers for The Ballad of Reading Gaol and A Ladder for Oscar Wilde.