Artwork Description / Detail
Jonathan Grant Galleries presents five rare drawings from the collection of Ray Richards who was employed by Wellington publishers, A.H. & A.W. Reed. The works are the original illustrations for Lynne Owen’s ‘School at Cape Runaway’, printed by A.H. & A.W. Reed in 1964.
Ray Richards (New Zealand 1921 – 2013) was an editor, publisher and vice-chairman at A.H. & A.W. Reed and a literary agent for over 36 years.
In 1936, aged 15, he began working as an office boy in the new Wellington offices of A.H. & A.W. Reed. With the declaration of war Richards left the publishing company to serve with the Fleet Air Arm. He completed missions in the Far East & earned a Distinguished Service Cross during his four year deployment,.
After completing his service, Richards worked as a journalist in London for a short time, before returning to New Zealand in 1946. He subsequently took up the position of production magazine manager at A.H. & A.W. Reed, his former employer.
A.H. & A.W. Reed was one of New Zealand’s oldest publishers, founded in 1907 by A.H. Reed. Alfred Hamish Reed CBE (the “A.H.” in A.H. & A.W. Reed) was born on the outskirts of London in 1875 and migrated with his family to New Zealand in 1887. A.H. founded the firm, A.H. Reed Ltd, in 1907 to sell Sunday school books and materials.
Born in Auckland in 1908, A.W. Reed (Alexander Wyclif) was educated at Mt Albert Grammar School. In 1932 he joined his uncles publishing business and the company was renamed A.H. & A.W. Reed. Wyclif wrote more than 200 books, with a range of reference works and popular accounts of Maori culture.
Ray Richards excelled in his position as production magazine manager and was soon promoted. “A.W. Reed wanted to write and virtually gave me my head as production manager, editor and publisher. I commissioned many authors, including two crucial acquisitions – artist Peter McIntyre and the remarkable and exasperating Barry Crump.”
During the early 1960’s Richards commissioned Peter McIntyre to create a series of 16 original illustrations for a book he was working on. The illustrations were subsequently published in School at Cape Runaway, 1964. Written by Lynne Owen the text chronicled her experience living and teaching at Whangaparaoa, a tiny isolated settlement near Cape Runaway, in the eastern corner of the Bay of Plenty.
Later in his life Richards became New Zealand’s first literary agent in 1976, a second career that lasted for over thirty years. He was hugely influential in the publishing industry. He worked with hundreds of authors, artists and illustrators, mentoring, advising and presenting their work to publishers.
Ray Richards worked as a literary agent up until his death in 2013, aged 93.