Edward Ardizzone Artist Biography

Often considered the father of the modern children’s picture book - in particular for his 'Tim' series of books which he both wrote and illustrated - Edward Ardizzone’s style is instantly recognisable. A light, deft hand sketches moments in time capturing the absolute essence of a scene. He has a very classical composition, his illustrations being like a stage set on which his characters play out a scene. Fascinating to observe in his drawing is, on one hand the minimalism, on the other the extraordinarily detailed description of the relationship between characters giving them a presence and immediacy which transports the observer into that moment.

Edward Ardizzone was born in Haiphong, French Indo-China, and at the age of five returned to England with his mother. They moved from place to place, but they were never too far from Ipswich where Edward's grandmother resided. In Ipswich the young Edward Ardizzone explored the docks, met the sailors and established the memories which would later form the basis for the famous 'Little Tim' books. Through his school years and into his first job in London as a clerk he developed his interest in drawing.

After inheriting a sum of money from his father, Edward Ardizzone left his job as clerk, got married to Catherine Anderson, and set up as a freelance artist. Just before the WWII his first book "Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain" was published. It was inspired by the stories he created to tell his three children, Christianna, Philip and Nicholas when they were little. Edward Ardizzone was appointed official war artist in 1940 by Sir Kenneth Clark, director of the National Gallery, London, 1933-1945. With his extraordinary visual memory, he recorded the horror of the battlefield as well as the lighter moments and camaraderie that punctuated the misery and fear.

Between 1929 and his death in 1979, Edward Ardizzone illustrated a large number of books, and wrote and illustrated many more including the well-loved Little Tim series, Johnny the Clockmaker, Diana and her Rhinoceros, Paul the Hero of the Fire; and with his cousin Christianna Brand, created Nurse Matilda, later familiar to many as Nanny McPhee. In 1956, Edward Ardizzone won the first Kate Greenaway medal for his illustrations in the 'Tim' series of books. The illustrations continue to receive universal admiration from both young and old. There were eleven 'Tim' books in total published from 1936 - 1977.

Edward Ardizzone always maintained that the art of a children's book illustrator was particularly good when it was created as much for the child within the illustrator, as for the child viewing the illustrations. This is, almost certainly, why the 'Tim' books have just as much appeal for adults as they do for children. Edward Ardizzone continued to both write and illustrate a wide range of children's books right up until his death in 1979.

More art prints from Edward Ardizzone

The Cornet Player By Edward Ardizzone
Bunk-bed at Sea By Edward Ardizzone
Garden at the Red Lion By Edward Ardizzone
Flotsam and Jetsam By Edward Ardizzone
Tim and Lucy By Edward Ardizzone
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