Edward Ardizzone CBE, RA

Born: 1900-1979

Edward Ardizzone CBE, RA

Edward Jeffrey Irving Ardizzone, CBE, RA was born in 1900 in Haiphong, French Indochina, but grew up in Suffolk.


He started work as a statistical clerk at the age of 19 but continued to study art at Westminster School of Arts for three nights a week. In 1926 his father gave him sufficient funds to enable him to follow his passion and pursue a full-time career in art. Between 1929 and his death in 1979 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

His style is naturalistic but subdued, featuring gentle lines and delicate watercolours, but with great attention to particular details. Throughout his career Ardizonne's work was exhibited extensively including the Leger Gallery (1931-1936) , the Victoria & Albert Museum (1973), the Scottish Arts Council Gallery in Edinburgh (1979), The Royal Society of Painters in Watercolour (1954) and The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition from 1964. His reputation as a book illustrator, official war artist and witty social commentator in pen & ink is continuing to grow. He died from a heart attack at home in 1979.

He was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts in 1970, was an honorary associate of the Royal College of Art,  a fellow of the Society of Industrial Artists of and appointed CBE in 1971. The British Library published an illustrated bibliography of his works in 2003.