Dismal Desmond

Dismal Desmond

This article was kindly written by Carol Thomas, a keen Dismal Desmond collector. She has in the region of 100 unique Dismal Desmond items in her collection.


Dismal Desmond a howling successDismal Desmond was created by Ian Hassall, who was the son of John Hassall, a famous illustrator. I believe he was first heard of in 1926, and first appeared in the Toby magazine for boys.

 The famous toy company dean's rag book brought out many different versions of him as soft toys and also a toy of him on wheels (now very rare). A little later on they brought out Cheerful Desmond (who had a smiling face) but he was never as popular, so he is rarer as they didn't produce him for long. Dismal, featured in one of their famous ragbooks.  "D is for Dismal Desmond" is featured on one of the pages.

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Dismal Desmonds with Galopin Gus

Cheerful Desmond

Dismal Desmond was famous throughout the world and there were numerous bits made in Japan, Germany and England.

Some of the items produced were salt & pepper cruets, a tobacco jar, pin dishes, soft toys, eggcups, posters, postcards, an annual, a manicure set, silver charms, silver watch fobs, many china ornaments, children's nursery-ware, fancy dress costumes, brooches, sweetie tins, door stops, chocolate molds, celluloid toys, christmas light bulbs,etc. there was even  a "Dismal Desmond ball" for charity, supporting a children's hospital.

wade-desmondIn his day he was as popular as Georges Studdy's Bonzo dog. He was reputed to be a friend of Bonzo, and gallopingus,(a horse) who was also made by dean's rag book.

Dismal Desmond was the mascot of the ladies tennis team at wimbledon and also of the england cricket team. The reason he is so sad, was that his owner Daisy Doodah had died and left him all alone. He used to be a white dog, but when she died, his misery came out in black bloches all over his poor wee body.

We currently have  a Dismal Desmond sweetie container for sale.
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