Barne, Kitty

About the author

Kitty Barne (1883-1957) is probably best known now for her Rosina Copper books, but she won the Carnegie Prize in 1940 for Visitors for London. Rosina Copper, and its follow up, Rosina and Son, are true stories about a chestnut mare rescued from neglect. It turns out that Rosina is an Argentine polo pony (and a very good one) who fell on hard times.

Kitty Barne was born in Sussex, and studied at the Royal College of Music (several of her children’s books have a musical theme). She married Captain Eric Streatfeild, and was cousin-in-law to Noel Streatfeild, author of Ballet Shoes. Kitty Barne died in 1957 after a stroke.

The illustrator Ruth Gervais illustrated some of Kitty Barne’s books (though not her horse titles: these were done rather well by Alfons Purtscher and Marcia Lane Foster), and she wrote this about Kitty Barne:

To an illustrator, Kitty Barne was a most delightful author, not because she gave one a free hand, far from it, but because she knew exactly what she wanted and was so delighted when one caught her visual images. It was a true collaboration of author and artist. We would meet and then, her good ear towards me, her eyes shining, her face alive with interest, she would discuss her characters. I used to make dozens of quick sketches until I got them as she pictured them, helped by her interjections, ‘Oh, rather a higher forehead and even deeper set eyes’ or ‘oh, no you’ve made her far too nice, I think she is a horrid little girl.’ We would laugh together over her amusing adults as she suggested incidents for me to sketch which would bring out their characteristics. (from Chosen for Children, 1977)

Finding the books
Both pony titles are easy to find, and not generally expensive.

Sources and links
CILIP Archive
Wikipedia Article

The original story of Rosina Copper, as written by her owner, Mary Gibson

Bibliography (pony books only)


Evans Bros, London, 1954, illus Alfons Putscher
EP Dutton, New York, 1956
Children’s Book Club
Zebra Paperbacks, 1966, reprint, illus Clyde Pearson, pb
White Lion, 1976, hb

The true story of a pony bought almost too weak to walk, but who blossomed into a new career as a show horse.  There is a mystery about her earlier life, and
two people in her life who know  more than they’re telling, but at last the truth comes out.


Evans Bros, London, 1956, illus Marcia Lane Foster
White Lion, 1976, hb

“This is the story of Rosina’s foal, who “looked as if he’d been dipped in cream”, and of the adventures that befell him when his mother was working in a circus. Two children, Robin and Jean, on a camping holiday with their mother beside a loch, first  see Rosina and son on a small island in the middle of the loch. Later they meet Tex who owns Rosina and help him to rear the little foal and break it in to the halter. Tex explains that the circus for which he works has no winter quarters to which to go to, and the children’s mother agrees to let the circus folk stay at her own farm. From then onwards the children are inseparable from Rosina and her foal whom they christen Bud.”