Artist and writer Jane Samson has bought a Bath legend to life in a new children’s picture book, inspired by the story of Prince Bladud, who was cured of leprosy near Bath’s springs.
Her book has been picked up by bookshops around Bath, including The Roman Baths Gift Shop, Topping & Company and Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights.
This week, she will be entertaining children at Bath Central Library with an interactive storytelling session, to include dressing up and a craft activity.
Mrs Samson, 57, said: “It’s got my own little embellishments.
“It’s set in the Iron Age. The prince is thrown out of his kingdom because he gets leprosy – he’s banished from the kingdom and ends up being a swineherd.
“I first heard the story nearly 40 years ago when I first arrived in Bath. Somebody told me that story and it just stuck in my head –it’s been a little acorn in my mind for a long time.
“I wanted to write a story book and it was a ready-made story. I thought ‘that would be a perfect story for a children’s book’.
“When you see pictures of Bladud, they are always embedded in tomes of text, but this is supposed to be for children.”
Mrs Samson came to Bath to study at the Bath Academy of Art, in Corsham, and now works at the college as a member of the learning support team.
It took her two years to create The Story of Prince Bladud – a Tale of Bath.
At the start of the creative process she signed up to an illustration course at Bath College, led by artist Sholto Walker, and later she joined a Photoshop class.
Learning Photoshop helped Mrs Samson to move her images around the page, to make sure her book had the best possible layout.
She said: “The illustration course was really good, I took on board everything he said, and it was also being with people who had the same interests.
“Three of us got together in the evenings and odd days and kept it going – we started a little group to keep us motivated.
“The college was really useful. I used to work as a full-time teacher in a secondary school. I just decided I would cut my hours and make sure I had enough time to do my own work.
“I was burning the midnight oil, so working in the college has helped with that.
“Then I started providing support in media classes and for the first time I had to get to grips with Photoshop and InDesign. I went to an evening course to continue learning Photoshop.
“It’s a labour of love because you don’t know if it’s going to be successful. It’s in the early stages of marketing, but I have had a lot of positive feedback.”
Mrs Samson will be at Bath Central Library on Tuesday 27th October at 10.30am.
She is also holding a book signing at the Bath Christmas Market on Thursday 3rd December.