Horsley-Smith, Ursula

About the author

(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
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


White Horses

Guilford Press, London, 1954, illus Rosemary Cosgrave, 127 pp.

I don’t have the book, but you can see pictures of it here and here.

A storyof Mog, half-cat and half-fish, who lives in a castle under the sea. Together with his friends, the white horses, he battles their mutual enemy: the sea horses.

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.

Not everyone can find the door that opens in to fairyland, but the Robertson children, Rosalind, Peter and William, can. The door in the wall of Boxling Vicarage opens up and the children end up in the land of Aquilegia. There they meet two Canterbury pilgrims, who, like them, are time travellers. Eventually they find their way to the Kingdom of the Sea, and their old friends, the White Horses.

Sunset Cottage

Guilford Press, London, 1960, illus Rosemary Cosgrave, 158 pp.