(Mary) Ursula Horsley-Smith (1908–2005) worked for the Bank of England, and wrote four children’s books. All were illustrated by Rosemary Cosgrave, a childhood friend. The books are all extremely difficult to find, but I think that they form a series. The books are all extremely difficult to find, but I think that they form a series. The three about which I have firm information feature horses. If anyone has Sunset Cottage, and can enlighten me about the plot, please get in touch.
The books are fantasies, in which children enter other, fantastic, worlds. In The Land of No Time (1957), Rosalind, Peter and William Robertson are able to open the door that opens on to fairyland, where they find their way to the Kingdom of the Sea, to meet their old friends, the White Horses. A contemporary review in Pony Magazine describes the book as 'pleasantly exciting.... The author has the faculty of making magic appear reasonable.'
Rosemary Cosgrave (1916–84) was born in India, and was sent to school in England: in her case, Coel Bel, in Chislehurst, Kent. Her father, Sir William Cosgrave, worked for the Indian Civil Service. Throughout her life, Rosemary was known as Fudge, a nickname she acquired at school.
Should you ever be in Ninfield, Sussex, there is a village sign hanging at the entrance to the village, which was painted by Rosemary Cosgrave. Apart from that, Rosemary provided the illustrations for all Ursula Horsley-Smith’s books. Rosemary Cosgrave died, unmarried, in 1984 in Ninfield, Sussex.
Finding the books
Very difficult to find indeed.
Links and sources
Biographical detail on the Tomfolio site, provided by Henry F Hain III
Biographical information on Rosemary Cosgrave from her nephew, Simon Cocheme.
Review of The Land of No Time, Pony Magazine, February 1958
Information on The Door That Wasn’t There, Theresa Holmes
Illustrations from White Horses from Kate
Bibliography: pony books only
White Horses, Guilford Press, London, 1954, illus Rosemary Cosgrave, 127 pp.
The Door That Wasn’t There, Guilford Press, London, 1956, illus Rosemary Cosgrave, 159 pp.
The Land of No Time, Guilford Press, London, 1957, illus Rosemary Cosgrave, 159 pp.
Sunset Cottage, Guilford Press, London, 1960, illus Rosemary Cosgrave, 158 pp.