Gladys Emma Peto

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Gladys Emma Peto
Gladys Peto.jpg
Gladys Peto
Born 1890
Died 1977
Northern Ireland
Occupation artist, fashion designer, illustrator and writer
Nationality United Kingdom

Gladys Emma Peto (1890 in Maidenhead, Berkshire – 1977 in Northern Ireland) was an English artist, fashion designer, illustrator and writer of children's books.


Peto attended Maidenhead High School and art classes in the town before heading off to London to study at art school there. She married Dr. Cuthbert Lindsay Emmerson of the Royal Army Medical Corps, and she traveled with him to Malta, Cyprus and Egypt. He retired in 1946 as a Colonel and died in 1977.[1]

She created drawings for "The letters of Phrynette" in The Sketch. This was similar to the series "Letters of Eve" in the The Tatler. The latter was illustrated by Annie Fish and there was a court case.[2]

Her family was not especially artistic. As a girl in Maidenhead, she would go out "in her father's trap" and notice interesting people along the way. She would get home and sketch them.[3]

She retired from commercial art in 1946 and moved with her husband, who had retired from the Army, to Northern Ireland. She devoted her remaining years to painting landscapes in watercolors and to drawing and cultivating flowers. She suffered a stroke in 1970 that paralyzed her right, and dominant, hand, but continued to draw, paint and write with her left hand.[4]

Her obituary claimed thatn the 1930s it was the "in thing" to wear a Peto dress. Peto's advertising illustrations for infant formula, Ovaltine and many other products were featured in magazines and posters.[5]


  1. ^ Almost a tribute to Gladys Peto, Times of Malta, Retrieved 8 April 2017
  2. ^ Mark Bryant, ‘Fish, (Harriet) Annie (1890–1964)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2006 accessed 8 April 2017
  3. ^ Empire Annual for Australian Girls published Poster Art Work for Girls, A Talk With Miss Gladys Peto the Well-Known Poster Artist, 1920s
  4. ^ Comprehensive Gladys Peto website by Jeanette Payne
  5. ^ Obituary in The Times (London), 1977