This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
  • LibraryThing
  • Book discussions
  • Your LibraryThing
  • Join to start using.

Mr. and Mrs. Vinegar

Tattered but still lovely

Join LibraryThing to post.

Edited: Aug 5, 8:38am Top

This is an old story that I just vaguely remembered until I started researching Stephen Gammell. I ordered a handful of his books from the library, and this was one of them.

He did a black and white version:

The story is an old English tale, and it is quite stupid. Mr. Vinegar goes off trading one thing for another, but he always trades down. The enchanting concept, for me, was that they lived in a pickle jar.

So I went searching for the half-remembered image that pleased me so much.

There are three versions of the story here on LT.

A Welsh author, Euan Cooper-Willis, told it a while back, and copies can be quite dear, and a good cover image can't be found:

This may be the one I recall, but I thought the jar/bottle was bigger and clear.

Flora Annie Steel is another collector of these tales, and I may have this in a collection I own. But the single tale was also published by itself. This is the picture on the cover, and it is by Arthur Rackham:

Yes, their home is called 'Piccalilli Cottage.'

It appears that children's magazines have used the tale over the years, and that might be what I'm remembering. I'll post more images again later.

Aug 6, 11:35am Top

I love the detail and the color in Rackham's illustration. I do have English Fairy Tales, and it has this and one more illustration. There are possibly more he painted for this story, but all I'm finding is one inconsequential B&W.

I delight in Stephen Gammell's Appalachian depictions in some other books, but his drawings here don't really satisfy. Appears no one else treasures them either, as I can't find any interiors of his book. His pickle jar, though is a nice old-fashioned one shaped like a crock and with a fitted lid.

This is the closest I can find to describe it:

It's a nice size and has a door and steps up to it.

Aug 6, 11:37am Top

Here's an image with no provenance, though the site itself is in Russian:

Aug 6, 11:41am Top

This looks interesting, but certainly not available at my library and possibly not at abebooks either:

The author/illustrator is not found on LT either.

Aug 6, 11:49am Top

Ah! Here is Rackham's depiction of the accidental breaking of the pickle jar, and the full text of the story:


Aug 6, 11:52am Top

As I mentioned, children's magazines have published the story.

Here is one by Storytime Magazine:

Aug 6, 11:57am Top

George Hauman illustrated Stories That Never Grow Old and contributed one Mr. Vinegar illustration:

Edited: Aug 6, 12:02pm Top

Just to be complete, I'll show one by Faith Walker (apparently not the correct person), though it's almost as silly as the story:

Edited: Aug 6, 12:21pm Top

Herbert Cole illustrated Fairy Gold more than a century ago:

I like it!

Oh my! Google his name and look at the image collection!

Aug 6, 12:27pm Top

And I'm going to wrap up my survey with a lovely vintage illustration offered from an etsy store:

Aug 8, 9:50am Top

I don't think I have ever heard of Mr. and Mrs. Vinegar, but Victor Borge told a wonderful version of "Papa's always Right" by Hans Christian Anderson on a children's album that I listened to again and again when I was young. It is rather the antithesis of this story I guess, because in the end, all of Papa's terrible bargaining and such earns him a kiss from his wife, rather than a beating.

Aug 14, 11:18am Top

By the way, I'm doing a thread dedicated to Stephen Gammell in another group. It's way too quiet over there. Can I recruit some picture lovers to come and play over there too?


Group: Tattered but still lovely

205 members

6,894 messages


This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 137,391,404 books! | Top bar: Always visible