Monday, August 11, 2008

Pauline Baynes, RIP

Brian Sibley appreciates the life and work of Pauline Baynes, who died on August 1:
After producing illustrations for various books of fairy tales, Pauline Baynes' career was established when, in 1949, J R R Tolkien's publishers showed the author of The Hobbit a portfolio of her artwork. Tolkien had written Farmer Giles of Ham, a fanciful novella with a faux-medieval setting, and being dissatisfied with the pictures that had been produced for the book was looking for a new illustrator.

Pauline produced a series of witty line illustrations that perfectly caught the essence of Tolkien's story to an extent that he declared them to be "more than illustrations, they are a collateral theme." He also delighted in reporting that friends had said that the pictures had reduced his text to "a commentary on the drawings"! ....

It was the beginning of a long friendship between author and illustrator with Pauline decorating Tolkien's subsequent books, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Smith of Wootton Major. ....

It was the collaboration with Tolkien that resulted in Pauline's subsequent association with the septet of children's novels by C S Lewis beginning with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and known, collectively, as The Chronicles of Narnia. ....

The illustrations for the Lewis books contributed significantly to their success and now are inseparable from the text, but she illustrated over a hundred other books....
Thanks to Will Vaus for the reference.

Brian Sibley: PAULINE BAYNES: QUEEN OF NARNIA AND MIDDLE-EARTH
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