Edward Ardizzone

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Edward Ardizzone

Edward Ardizzone - Official War Artist Art.IWMARTLD4056.jpg
Ardizzone in uniform by Henry Carr, (1944) (Art.IWM ART LD 4056)
BornEdward Jeffrey Irving Ardizzone
(1900-10-16)16 October 1900
Haiphong, Tonkin
Died8 November 1979(1979-11-08) (aged 79)
Rodmersham Green, Kent, England
Pen nameDiz
OccupationArtist, illustrator, writer
Genre Children's books
Notable worksTim All Alone (1956)

Edward Jeffrey Irving Ardizzone, CBE RA (16 October 1900 – 8 November 1979), who sometimes signed his work "DIZ", was an English painter, print-maker and war artist, and the author and illustrator of books, many of them for children. [1] For Tim All Alone (Oxford, 1956), which he wrote and illustrated, Ardizzone won the inaugural Kate Greenaway Medal from the Library Association for the year's best children's book illustration by a British subject. [2] For the 50th anniversary of the Medal in 2005, the book was named one of the top ten winning titles, selected by a panel to compose the ballot for public election of an all-time favourite. [3]

Royal Academy of Arts art institution in London, England

The Royal Academy of Arts (RA) is an art institution based in Burlington House on Piccadilly in London. It has a unique position as an independent, privately funded institution led by eminent artists and architects. Its purpose is to promote the creation, enjoyment and appreciation of the visual arts through exhibitions, education and debate.

The Kate Greenaway Medal is a British literary award that annually recognises "distinguished illustration in a book for children". It is conferred upon the illustrator by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) which inherited it from the Library Association.


Early life

Ardizzone's father, Auguste Ardizzone, was a naturalized Frenchman of Italian descent, who was born in French Algeria, then a colony of France, and worked on overseas government service elsewhere in the French colonial empire. Ardizzone's mother, Margaret, was English. Her father, Edward Alexander Irving was the assistant Colonial Secretary, Straits Settlements of what is now known as Singapore. Edward Ardizzone was born in the port city of Haiphong, in what is now Vietnam, but was then known as Tonkin, in the north of French Indo-China, whilst his father was working for the Eastern Extension Telegraph Company. [4]

French Algeria French colony in Northern Africa

French Algeria, also known as Colonial Algeria, began in 1830 with the invasion of Algiers and lasted until 1962, under a variety of governmental systems. From 1848 until independence, the whole Mediterranean region of Algeria was administered as an integral part of France.

French colonial empire Set of territories that were under French rule primarily from the 17th century to the late 1960s

The French colonial empire constituted the overseas colonies, protectorates and mandate territories that came under French rule from the 16th century onward. A distinction is generally made between the "first colonial empire," that existed until 1814, by which time most of it had been lost, and the "second colonial empire", which began with the conquest of Algiers in 1830. The second colonial empire came to an end after the loss in later wars of Indochina (1954) and Algeria (1962), and relatively peaceful decolonizations elsewhere after 1960.

Singapore Republic in Southeast Asia

Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, is an island city-state in Southeast Asia. It lies one degree north of the equator, at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, with Indonesia's Riau Islands to the south and Peninsular Malaysia to the north. Singapore's territory consists of one main island along with 62 other islets. Since independence, extensive land reclamation has increased its total size by 23%. The country is known for its transition from a developing to a developed one in a single generation under the leadership of its founder Lee Kuan Yew.

In 1905, Margaret Ardizzone returned to England with her three eldest children. They were brought up in Suffolk, largely by their maternal grandmother, whilst Margaret returned to join her husband in the Far East. The Ardizzone family lived in Ipswich at Corder Road between 1905 and 1910, and in Gainsborough Road from 1911 to 1912. Ardizzone was educated first at Ipswich School and then at Clayesmore School, a boarding school in Wokingham from 1912. At Claysmore his interest in art was encouraged by an art teacher. [5]

Suffolk County of England

Suffolk is an East Anglian county of historic origin in England. It has borders with Norfolk to the north, Cambridgeshire to the west and Essex to the south. The North Sea lies to the east. The county town is Ipswich; other important towns include Lowestoft, Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket and Felixstowe, one of the largest container ports in Europe.

Ipswich Town and Borough in England

Ipswich is a large historical town in Suffolk, England, located in East Anglia about 66 miles (106 km) north east of London. It is also the county town of Suffolk. The town has been continuously occupied since the Saxon period, and its port has been one of England's most important for the whole of its history.

Ipswich School grade II listed school in the United kingdom

Ipswich School is an independent school for children aged 3 to 18 in Ipswich, Suffolk, England.

Early career

Ardizzone left school in 1918 and twice tried to enlist in the British Army but was refused. After spending six months at a commerce college in Bath, Ardizzone spent several years working as an office clerk in both Warminster and London, where he began taking evening classes at the Westminster School of Art, which were taught by Bernard Meninsky. In 1922 Ardizzone became a naturalized British citizen. While working as an office clerk, Ardizzone had spent his weekends and free time painting and in 1926, with financial support from his father, gave up his office job to concentrate on establishing himself as a professional, freelance artist. [4]

Bath, Somerset City in Somerset, England

Bath is the largest city in the ceremonial county of Somerset, England, known for its Roman-built baths. In 2011, the population was 88,859. Bath is in the valley of the River Avon, 97 miles (156 km) west of London and 11 miles (18 km) south-east of Bristol. The city became a World Heritage site in 1987.

Warminster town and civil parish in western Wiltshire, England

Warminster is a town and civil parish in western Wiltshire, England, by-passed by the A36 and the partly concurrent A350 between Westbury and Blandford Forum. It has a population of about 17,000. The 11th-century Minster Church of St Denys stands near the River Were, which runs through the town and can be seen running through the town park. The name Warminster first occurs in the early 10th century.

The Westminster School of Art was an art school in Westminster, London.

Ardizzone's first major commission was to illustrate an edition of In a Glass Darkly by Sheridan Le Fanu in 1929. He also produced advertising material for Johnnie Walker whisky and illustrations for both Punch and The Radio Times , [4] including the 1937 and 1948 Christmas covers of the latter. The first book by Ardizzone listed by the US Library of Congress is The Mediterranean: An anthology (London: Cassell, 1935, OCLC 2891569), compiled by Paul Bloomfield, "decorated by Edward Ardizzone" with "each chapter preceded by illustrated half-title". [6] In 1936 he inaugurated his best-known work, the Tim series of books, featuring the maritime adventures of its eponymous young hero, which he both wrote and illustrated. Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain was published by Oxford University Press in both London and New York that year. [7] In 1939, he illustrated the first of a series of four Mimff children's books by H.J.Kaesar.

<i>In a Glass Darkly</i> collection of five short stories by Sheridan Le Fanu

In a Glass Darkly is a collection of five short stories by Sheridan Le Fanu, first published in 1872, the year before his death. The second and third are revised versions of previously published stories, and the fourth and fifth are long enough to be called novellas.

Sheridan Le Fanu Irish writer of Gothic tales and mystery novels

Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu was an Irish writer of Gothic tales, mystery novels, and horror fiction. He was a leading ghost story writer of the nineteenth century and was central to the development of the genre in the Victorian era. M. R. James described Le Fanu as "absolutely in the first rank as a writer of ghost stories". Three of his best-known works are Uncle Silas, Carmilla, and The House by the Churchyard.

Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky

Johnnie Walker is a brand of Scotch whisky now owned by Diageo that originated in the Scottish town of Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire. The brand was first established by grocer John Walker. It is the most widely distributed brand of blended Scotch whisky in the world, sold in almost every country, with annual sales of the equivalent of over 223.7 million 700 ml bottles in 2016.

By 1939, Ardizzone was holding one-man exhibitions on a regular basis, with shows at the Bloomsbury Gallery and later the Leger Gallery. At this time the major theme of his paintings were scenes of life in London, with affectionate illustrations of the pubs and parks near his home in the Maida Vale area of the city. [4] His style was naturalistic but subdued, featuring gentle lines and delicate watercolours, but with great attention to particular details.

Maida Vale residential district comprising the northern part of Paddington in west London

Maida Vale is an affluent residential district comprising the northern part of Paddington in west London, west of St John's Wood and south of Kilburn. It is part of the City of Westminster.

World War II

Visit to the Ensa Girls in their dressing room at the Lucera Opera house, 13 November 1943 We Visit the Ensa Girls in their dressing room at the Lucera Operahouse, November 13th 1943 Art.IWMARTLD3624.jpg
Visit to the Ensa Girls in their dressing room at the Lucera Opera house, 13 November 1943
Normandy June 1944 - Naval Control Post on the Beaches (1944) (Art.IWM ART LD 4392) Normandy June 1944- Naval Control Post on the Beaches Art.IWMARTLD4392.jpg
Normandy June 1944 – Naval Control Post on the Beaches (1944) (Art.IWM ART LD 4392)
On the Road to Tripoli - a Cup of Tea for the Burial Party (1943) (Art.IWM ART LD 3035) On the Road to Tripoli - a Cup of Tea for the Burial Party Art.IWMARTLD3035.jpg
On the Road to Tripoli – a Cup of Tea for the Burial Party (1943) (Art.IWM ART LD 3035)
Ardizzone recorded this visit to Bremen in his diary on 26 April 1945: 'To Bremen again with Brian de Grineau' (IWM LD 7580 [C]). Ardizzone recorded this visit to Bremen in his diary on 26 April 1945- 'To Bremen again with Brian de Grineau. The city a dead one - ruins everywhere, a drunken Dutchman reeling down the street...Little groups of freed Art.IWMARTLD5255.jpg
Ardizzone recorded this visit to Bremen in his diary on 26 April 1945: 'To Bremen again with Brian de Grineau' (IWM LD 7580 [C]).

In World War II, after a short spell in an anti-aircraft unit, Ardizzone worked as a full-time, official war artist assigned to the War Office by the War Artists' Advisory Committee. [8] He first served with the British Expeditionary Force and depicted their retreat through France and Belgium before being evacuated back to Britain from Boulogne in May 1940. [9] In Britain he recorded troops at their training camps and spent nights sketching in the London Underground, where tube tunnels were being used as air-raid shelters during the Blitz. [10] [11] Ardizzone spent the early part of 1941 travelling around Scotland. In January 1942 he recorded the arrival of American troops in Northern Ireland. In March of that year he went to Cairo and joined the British First Army on its march to Tunisia, and then joined the Eighth Army. By July 1943 Ardizzone was in Sicily, where he witnessed combat at close quarters, and unusually for him, painted the aftermath of the fighting. [9] [12] He travelled on through Italy with the Eighth Army until April 1944, when he flew to Algiers, from where he sailed back to Britain. In June 1944 he went to France during the Allied invasion, but by September 1944 was back in Italy. He again travelled widely there and witnessed the fall of Reggio Calabria and Naples. He spent the winter of 1944 in Italy before travelling to Germany for the final months of the War. [8] By the time Ardizzone returned to England in May 1945 he had completed almost 400 sketches and watercolours of the War, most of which, along with his wartime diaries, are held at the Imperial War Museum. [9] His early experiences between Arras and Boulogne are illustrated and described in his book Baggage to the Enemy (London 1941), while Diary of a War Artist, published in 1974, described his later experiences during the conflict.

Post-war career

After the War, Ardizzone resumed his freelance career and received commissions from The Strand Magazine for cover artwork, from the Ealing film studios for promotional material and from the Guinness company for adverts. Ardizzone was commissioned to produce a watercolour portrait of Winston Churchill and continued to write and illustrate books. [4] The most famous Tim book is the inaugural Greenaway Medal-winner, Tim All Alone (Oxford, 1956). [2] The series continued until 1972 with Tim's Last Voyage which was followed in 1977 by Ship's Cook Ginger.

Beside writing and illustrating his own books, Ardizzone also illustrated books written by others, including some editions of Anthony Trollope and H. E. Bates's My Uncle Silas . He illustrated the C. Day Lewis children's novel, The Otterbury Incident (1948). One of his happiest collaborations was that with Eleanor Farjeon, especially on The Little Bookroom (Oxford, 1955 collection). Ardizzone illustrated some novels by the American author Eleanor Estes, including Pinky Pye , The Witch Family, The Alley, Miranda the Great, and The Tunnel of Hugsy Goode (1958 to 1972). In 1962 he illustrated an edition of J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan, retold by Eleanor Graham, and A Ring of Bells (1962), John Betjeman's abridged version for children of his autobiographical poem Summoned by Bells (1960). [13]

For illustrating Titus in Trouble, written by James Reeves, Ardizzone was a commended runner-up for the 1959 Greenaway Medal. [14] [lower-alpha 1] Ardizzone is particularly noted for having not just illustrated the covers and contents of books, but inked in the title text and author's name in his own hand, giving the books a distinctive look on shelves. An example is Clive King's Stig of the Dump from 1963. The Nurse Matilda series of children's books (1964–74) was written by his cousin Christianna Brand, who was seven years younger. Their shared grandmother had told the stories to both cousins and she had learned them from her father.

Early in the 1970s, Ardizzone illustrated a new edition of the 20-year-old Little books by Graham Greene: The Little Train, The Little Fire Engine, The Little Horse Bus, and The Little Steamroller. He also illustrated a re-telling of the Don Quixote story for children by James Reeves and his illustrations for The Land of Green Ginger by Noel Langley are regarded as classics in their own right. [13] His 1970 autobiography, The Young Ardizzone - an autobiographical fragment, was illustrated with his own drawings.

Ardizzone also illustrated several telegrams for the Post Office in the 1950s and 1960s, many of which are considered collectors' items. He also held a number of teaching posts, working part-time as an instructor in graphic design at Camberwell School of Art and as a visiting tutor at the Royal College of Art. In 1960 he retired from his teaching posts and began spending more time at Rodmersham Green in Kent before moving there permanently in 1972. In 1929, Ardizzone had married Catherine Josephine Berkley (1904-1992) and the couple had two sons and a daughter. Ardizzone died of a heart attack in 1979 at his home in Rodmersham Green. After Catherine's death in 1992, the British government accepted 64 of Ardizzone's sketchbooks in lieu of inheritance tax and these are now held by the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. [4] The British Library published an illustrated bibliography of his works in 2003. A blue plaque unveiled in 2007 commemorates Ardizzone's home at 130 Elgin Avenue in Maida Vale. [15]


Books written and illustrated by Ardizzone

Front cover of Stig of the Dump (1971 paperback with original cover art) Stig Dump.JPG
Front cover of Stig of the Dump (1971 paperback with original cover art)

Books by others, illustrated by Ardizzone

Awards and honours


  1. Today there are usually eight books on the Greenaway shortlist. According to CCSU, some runners-up through 2002 were Commended (from 1959) or Highly Commended (from 1974). There were 99 commendations of both kinds in 44 years, including Ardizzone and Gerald Rose when the distinction was inaugurated for 1959.

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  1. Frances Spalding (1990). 20th Century Painters and Sculptors. Antique Collectors' Club. ISBN   1 85149 106 6.
  2. 1 2 (Greenaway Winner 1956). Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  3. "70 Years Celebration: Anniversary Top Tens" Archived 27 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine . The CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards. CILIP. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 HCG Matthew & Brian Harrison (Editors) (2004). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Vol 2 (Amos-Avory). Oxford University Press. ISBN   0-19-861352-0.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  5. Edward Ardizzone, The Young Ardizzone: an Autobiographical Fragment (London, 1970).
  6. "The Mediterranean; an anthology". Library of Congress Catalog record. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  7. "Little Tim and the brave sea captain". Library of Congress Catalog record. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  8. 1 2 Brain Foss (2007). War paint: Art, War, State and Identity in Britain, 1939–1945. Yale University Press. ISBN   978-0-300-10890-3.
  9. 1 2 3 Claire Brenard. "How War Artist Edward Ardizzone Showed the Human Side of War". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  10. Ronan Thomas (8 December 2010). "Blitz by Brushstroke; Westminster's War Artists". 'West End at War'. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  11. Roger Tolson (Imperial War Museum). "A common cause: Britain's War Artist Scheme" (PDF). Canadian War Museum. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  12. Art from the Second World War. Imperial War Museum. 2007. ISBN   978-1-904897-66-8.
  13. 1 2 3 "Edward Ardizzone R.A". Royal Academy . Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  14. "Kate Greenaway Medal" Archived 16 September 2014 at the Wayback Machine . 2007(?). Curriculum Lab. Elihu Burritt Library. Central Connecticut State University (CCSU). Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  15. "Ardizzone, Edward (1900–1979)". English Heritage. Retrieved 18 August 2012.. Not found 19 March, 2019.
  16. "No. 45262". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1970. p. 8.

Further reading