HOW Family genealogy
Genealogy of the HOW family - originally of Kent, England
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Mary GERNAT

Mary GERNAT

Female 1926 - 1998  (72 years)

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  • Name Mary GERNAT 
    Born 16 Aug 1926  10 Beech Walk, Ewell, Surrey, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Female 
    Occupation Artist 
    Died 12 Oct 1998  Lymington, Hampshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    • Mary died from complications brought about from her long standing fight with Multiple Sclerosis which she had had for many years.
    Notes 
    • Born at 10 Beech Walk, Ewell, Surrey in 1926
      Moved in 1936 approx to St. Piran (house name), West Farm Close, Ashstead
    • From Kaye Wachter's book:
      She studied art at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in Kingsway, London, and then at the Regent Street Polytechnic. Commissions followed, with illustrations for book jackets ranging from Billy Bunter and Just William to Enid Blyton, a well known English writer of children's books, to name a few. She also did work for the Tatler and the Sunday Times. A favourite field of hers was child portraiture. Mary met Michael through the International Friendship League at Leatherhead, marrying in 1953. They moved to Milford-on-Sea in 1962 and then to Lymington in 1970. Meanwhile, they raised four sons and one daughter. The family was always the most important part of Mary's life and she found real joy in her five grandchildren!
      About thirty years ago, Mary learned that she had Multiple Sclerosis but chose to continue on with her profession despite her illness. Over the years she became a familiar sight around the streets of Lymington with a sketchpad resting on the handlebars of her electric scooter. Local buildings, streets and the Lymington market were amongst her favourite subjects, along with child portraiture.
      She became a member of the Society for Disabled Artists [SODA] at New Milton and the Palette Club at Lymington. Mary's artwork added distinction to the pamphlets and magazines of the different organizations and she also illustrated Christmas cards to be sold in aid of the Lyminton and District Branch of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
      Mary's art is delightful! She painted almost exclusively from life and, because she looked and listened so attentively, her paintings are impressive in their sincerity. Vicky How called her "a lovely artist, often doing watercolours of Katherine and 1 when we went to visit her"
    • Enid Blyton Society entry for Mary GERNAT http://www.enidblytonsociety.co.uk/book-groups.php?pick=illustrator&value=Mary+Gernat
    • From a web site about illustartors at http://www.janebadgerbooks.co.uk/illustrators/marygernat.html
      "Mary Gernat (1926-1998) was probably one of the most prolific cover artists of the 1960s. She was born in Ewell, Surrey in 1926, and trained at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in Kingsway and at Regent Street Polytechnic. Mary had a large family, and combined looking after them with working as a freelance illustrator from home via an agent. Her family of four sons and a daughter were often "pressed into service as models". Although she did not ride herself, she particularly enjoyed painting ponies. During her time as a illustrator, she provided many paperback covers for Collins' paperback imprint, Armada as well as for the Atlantic Publishing Co (Dragon) in the 1960s. Mary's son Roger told me she met Enid Blyton, whose paperback editions she illustrated, but she was not enamoured by her, and found her an "odd person". Mary Gernat suffered from multiple sclerosis during later life, which though it affected her mobility, did not affect her art. After she stopped working commercially, she carried on painting around Lymington, where her family lived. Her son Roger said:
      "Painting was my Mum's life and even when she stopped commercial painting, she carried on around our area, producing 1-2 paintings a day for 30 years or so.I am a woodworker and it is very common to see my mum's pictures hanging in the houses that I get work in."
      Mary Gernat's sketchy, energetic style is probably familiar to nearly every child who bought a paperback book in the 1960s. The range of titles she provided covers for was wide: from Enid Blyton's St Clare's, Mallory Towers and The Mystery of... series through countryside stories like Monica Edwards to Malcolm Saville's adventures. It's probably fair to say she is better known as a cover artist than as an illustrator, although she did illustrate many children's books: as illustrator of Sheila McCullagh's Pirate and other early reader series, her illustrations were probably an intrinsic part of many children's early reading efforts.
      She had a very distinctive, sketchy style, which was well suited to situations full of action. I am particularly fond of her cover for the 1960s Armada printing of I Carried The Horn, which I think wonderfully captures the awful tension of the moment. Mary Gernat was good at capturing that moment, if not always so good at anatomical accuracy!
      Tracking down which covers Mary Gernat was responsible for is complicated. The fact she produced covers rather than internal illustrations means it is particularly difficult to track down exactly what she did, as for many books Armada and Dragon tended to keep the original internal illustrations, and it's the internal illustrator who tends to be listed at the copyright libraries, and rarely a separate cover artist.
      Her covers are often confused with those of Peter Archer, an artist frequently used by Collins/Armada, so it's worth checking if it's important to you who did what. The two styles are quite similar, and the cover artist is not always credited, or even, in the case of Monica Edwards' "Cargo of Horses", credited to the wrong artist: although the artist credit is Peter Archer, the style looks much more like Mary Gernat. Tracking titles down then can sometimes be a case of simply following your instincts. Her married name was
      Thank you to Roger How for giving me permission to use these images of his mother's work.
      Sources: many thanks to Mary Gernat's family for providing biographical information"
    Person ID I00147  How Genealogy
    Last Modified 26 May 2015 

    Father Frederick Charles GERNAT,   b. 16 Sep 1894, Hackney, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Dec 1976, Worthing, Sussex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 82 years) 
    Mother Marjorie Olive SKINNER,   b. 6 Jun 1897, Wandsworth, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Nov 1959, Worthing, Sussex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 62 years) 
    Married 6 Jun 1924  All Saints Church, Fulham, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F00122  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Private 
    Children 
    +1. Living
    +2. Living
     3. Living
    +4. Living
    +5. Living
    Last Modified 25 May 2015 
    Family ID F00052  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 16 Aug 1926 - 10 Beech Walk, Ewell, Surrey, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 12 Oct 1998 - Lymington, Hampshire, England Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    Mary Gernat
    Mary Gernat
    Mary GERNAT, Frederick GERNAT, Marjorie O SKINNER
    Mary GERNAT, Frederick GERNAT, Marjorie O SKINNER
    Mary GERNAT c.1956
    Mary GERNAT c.1956
    At least one living or private individual is linked to this item - Details withheld.
    A Mary Gernat book illustration
    A Mary Gernat book illustration
    A Mary Gernat book illustration
    A Mary Gernat book illustration
    All Saints Church, Lymington, Hampshire, England
    All Saints Church, Lymington, Hampshire, England
    This photo was taken from very close to Mary Gernat's (How) headstone.
    At least one living or private individual is linked to this item - Details withheld.
    At least one living or private individual is linked to this item - Details withheld.
    At least one living or private individual is linked to this item - Details withheld.

    Documents
    Letter from Frederick Gernat to Mary How just before he died
    Letter from Frederick Gernat to Mary How just before he died

    Headstones
    Headstone of Mary Gernat d.1998
    Headstone of Mary Gernat d.1998
    Located at St. Thomas Church Cemetary, Lymington, Lymington, Hampshire, England
    Inscription Reads:
    "Mary How, 1926-1998, Much Loved, Wife, Mother, Grandma and Artist, A Blithe Spirit"

    Histories
    Brief History of the Gernat Family by Michael How, written in 2001
    Brief History of the Gernat Family by Michael How, written in 2001

    Certificates - Birth
    Birth Certificate - Mary GERNAT b.1926
    Birth Certificate - Mary GERNAT b.1926

  • Sources 
    1. [S21] UK - England & Wales, Death Index.
      Name: Mary How
      Birth Date: 16 Aug 1926
      Date of Registration: Oct 1998
      Age at Death: 72
      Registration district: New Forest
      Inferred County: Hampshire, New Forest
      Register Number: 66A
      District and Subdistrict: 4941
      Entry Number: 294