Pauline Baynes

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Pauline Diana Baynes
Pauline Baynes01.gif

Portrait of Pauline Baynes
Born (1922-09-09)9 September 1922
Hove, Sussex, England[1]
Died 1 August 2008(2008-08-01) (aged 85)
Dockenfield, Surrey, England[2]
Nationality British
Field Illustration, mainly children's books
Training Slade School of Fine Art
Works The Chronicles of Narnia
Awards Kate Greenaway Medal
Pauline Baynes' classic paperback cover art for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Pauline Diana Baynes (9 September 1922 – 1 August 2008) was an English illustrator whose work encompassed more than 100 books, notably those by C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.

Life and work[edit]

Baynes was born in Hove, Sussex. For a few years she was raised in India where her father was commissioner in Agra, but she and her elder sister came to England for their schooling. She spent much of her childhood in Farnham [3] and eventually attended the Slade School of Fine Art, but after a year volunteered to work for the Ministry of Defence, where she made demonstration models for instruction courses.[4] This work did not last long; she was soon transferred to a map-making department where she acquired skills later employed to good effect when she drew maps of Narnia for Lewis and of Middle-earth for Tolkien.

Baynes is probably best known for her cover and interior illustrations of The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis, published by Geoffrey Bles in one volume annually from 1950 to 1956. Years later she provided some new illustrations for The Land of Narnia: Brian Sibley Explores the World of C. S. Lewis (HarperCollins, 1998), by Brian Sibley. (According to a School Library Journal review, "the artwork includes full-page illustrations in glowing color".)[5]

When she began work on Narnia, she was already the chosen illustrator of Lewis' friend and colleague J. R. R. Tolkien. In her obituary for The Daily Telegraph, Charlotte Cory[a] described how Baynes and Tolkien came to be associated:[6]

In 1948 Tolkien was visiting his publishers, George Allen & Unwin, to discuss some disappointing artwork that they had commissioned for his novella Farmer Giles of Ham, when he spotted, lying on a desk, some witty reinterpretations of medieval marginalia from the Luttrell Psalter that greatly appealed to him. These, it turned out, had been sent to the publishers 'on spec' by the then unknown Pauline Baynes. Tolkien demanded that the creator of these drawings be set to work illustrating Farmer Giles of Ham, and was delighted with the subsequent results, declaring that Pauline Baynes had 'reduced my text to a commentary on her drawings'. Further collaboration between Tolkien and his Farmer Giles illustrator followed, and a lifelong friendship developed ... Later, when she showed him her artwork for a poster featuring Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, the author nodded approvingly and murmured quietly: "There they are, there they are."

Eventually her drawings would appear in Tolkien's Farmer Giles of Ham, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, Smith of Wootton Major, Tree and Leaf, and (after the author's death) in the poem Bilbo's Last Song, a poster in 1974 and a book in 1990. Baynes also painted the covers for the British 1973 one-volume and 1981 three-volume paperback editions of The Lord of the Rings, and produced illustrated poster versions of the maps from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

Her favorite of her own works was A Dictionary of Chivalry (Longman, 1968), edited by Grant Uden, an illustration project that required two years to complete.[7] For that she won the Kate Greenaway Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book illustration by a British subject. In a retrospective citation, the librarians call it "a reference work that details the life and thoughts of Knights".[8] As a reference book it is unique among the winning works and only one other Greenaway Medal in almost sixty years has been awarded for the illustration of nonfiction.[b]

Four years later she was a commended runner up for the Greenaway, for Snail and Caterpillar (Longman, 1972) by Helen Piers.[9][c]

Baynes illustrated The Borrowers Avenged by Mary Norton (1982), the fifth and final book in the Borrowers series (from 1952).[10] (The original illustrator Diane Stanley was deceased. Baynes did the covers for a 1980s Puffin edition of the entire series.)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ At the foot of the second edition of his August 2008 blog tribute to Baynes, Brian Sibley (October 2008) identifies the authors of Baynes obituaries in The Independent (himself), The Guardian (David Henshall), and The Telegraph (Charlotte Cory), but not that in The Times. Henshall and Cory were "two more of her close friends".
  2. ^ C. Walter Hodges won the 1964 Greenaway Medal for Shakespeare's Theatre (Oxford, 1968), which he also wrote. Since Hodges and Baynes, two illustrators have won the medal for historical fictions that the librarians call "information books". Namely, the CILIP press release announcing its 2001 award to Chris Riddell celebrated his illustration of Pirate Diary: The Journal of Jake Carpenter by Richard Platt, as the first "information book" to win since Horses in Battle (Oxford, 1975) by Victor Ambrus.
    "Renowned political cartoonist scoops Greenaway for first information book to win in 27 years". Press release 12(?) July 2002. CILIP. Retrieved 2012-07-02.
  3. ^ Today there are usually eight books on the Greenaway shortlist. According to CCSU, some runners through 2002 up were Commended (from 1959) or Highly Commended (from 1974). There were 99 commendations of both kinds in 44 years, including Baynes and two others in 1972.


  1. ^ Gale Literary Databases. "Pauline (Diana) Bates." Contemporary Authors. 24 September 2002.
  2. ^ Brian Sibley, Pauline Baynes, Queen of Narnia and Middle-Earth, 4 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-04.[dead link]
    Second edition, Ex Libris: Brian Sibley, 17 October 2008. Retrieved 2012-11-27.
  3. ^ "Farnham artist's Tolkien and Narnia work on display". Get Surrey. 28 November 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  4. ^ "Guide to the Pauline Baynes Papers 1955-1972". Northwest Digital Archives (NWDA). Retrieved 2007-11-08; updated 2012-11-27. The repository is Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, at the University of Oregon.
  5. ^ "The Land of Narnia: Brian Sibley Explores the World of C.S. Lewis". Bookseller presentation. Retrieved 2012-07-03. This includes quotation from a School Library Journal review by Ruth Vose, San Francisco Public Library.
  6. ^ "Pauline Baynes: Book illustrator discovered by JRR Tolkien who went on to create the drawings for CS Lewis's Narnia books." (obituary), The Daily Telegraph, 8 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-09.
  7. ^ "A Dictionary of Chivalry cover by Pauline Baynes". Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  8. ^ (Greenaway Winner 1968). Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 2012-07-15.
  9. ^ "Kate Greenaway Medal". 2007(?). Curriculum Lab. Elihu Burritt Library. Central Connecticut State University (CCSU). Retrieved 2012-07-02.
  10. ^ "The borrowers avenged" (first edition). Library of Congress Catalog Record. Retrieved 2012-07-15.

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