Thursday 14 August 2008

Pauline Baynes (1922 – 2008)

This is a tribute to the art of Pauline Baynes who died on August 1st. She was a notably prolific book illustrator, mostly famous for her association with J R R Tolkien and C S Lewis. To read a Guardian obituary please click here. Her work displayed a ready command of a wide variety of styles and idioms in which richly coloured decorative detail was expressed in a crisp linear embrace. The images she created were held together by powerful visual rhythms and her books showed a well judged sense of the disposition of image and text. These are a few examples that I found on my shelves and include my personal favourite, “A Companion to World Mythology”, published in 1979. Also included is a rare excursion into the world of advertising from the early 1950’s in which the imagery of Narnia is artfully deployed in the service of Huntley and Palmer’s Biscuits.

Since writing the above I’ve discovered a first-hand tribute from Brian Sibley that is extremely comprehensive and deeply felt. Please click here to read it.

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