Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon

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Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon
Born24 July 1826
Littlehampton, Sussex, England
Died16 February 1874
Lambeth, London, England
OccupationArtist, educator
GenreChildren's Literature

Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon (24 July 1826 – 6 February 1874) was a teacher and artist known for her talents during the 1860s in Ontario, Canada. In 1966, her most comprehensive work, An Illustrated Comic Alphabet, was published by librarians and artists who admired her work. Five years later, the Canadian Library Association inaugurated an annual award named for her, Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award. It recognizes the year's best illustration by a Canadian illustrator of a children's book published in Canada.[1]

Born at Littlehampton, Sussex, England, she was the oldest daughter of Amelia Dendy and Edward Howard Howard-Gibbon, himself the illegitimate son of Charles Howard, 11th Duke of Norfolk. She was educated in private schools during the employment of her father at the College of Arms. From her earliest years, Howard-Gibbon enjoyed drawing freehanded sketches, some of which survive today. She is believed to have studied French, German, and Art while in Paris, France, and Stuttgart, Germany. She was the first of the Howard-Gibbon siblings to emigrate to Ontario, where she began teaching in St. Thomas. She later moved to Sarnia and continued to teach children there for many years. Howard-Gibbon moved back to England in 1873, to claim an inheritance from her uncle Matthew Charles Howard-Gibbon, and became ill. She died in Lambeth and was buried with her father at Saint Nicholas Churchyard in Arundel.

During Howard-Gibbon's time in Ontario, she created watercolor portraits and sketches of several friends and family members. In 1859 she sketched a children's alphabet book which she later gave to a friend, Martha Poussette. Many years later Poussette's family donated the book to the Toronto Children's Library. (The original is in the Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books, catalogued as a book, "25 leaves", under 24 "ART" call numbers whose last words are letters of the alphabet, A to Z except I and U.)[2] It was finally published in 1966 as An Illustrated Comic Alphabet by Oxford University Press in Toronto (catalogued as a 31-page book)[3] and Henry Z. Walck in New York. It is the oldest known children's picture book by a Canadian artist.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-02. Retrieved 2014-01-28.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link). Canadian Library Association.
  2. ^ "An illustrated comic alphabet", 1859 (catalogue record). Toronto Public Library. Retrieved 2015-07-27.
  3. ^ "An illustrated comic alphabet", 1966 (catalogue record). Toronto Public Library. Retrieved 2015-07-27.

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