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Born Joshua Charles Armitage
(1913-09-26)26 September 1913
Hoylake, Cheshire, England
Died 29 January 1998(1998-01-29) (aged 84)
Hoylake, Wirral, Merseyside
Nationality British
Area(s) Illustrator, cartoonist

Joshua Charles Armitage (26 September 1913 – 29 January 1998) was an English illustrator under the pen name Ionicus.[1][2]

He may be known best for illustrating the covers of Penguin paperback editions of books by P. G. Wodehouse, though he contributed cartoons and drawings to Punch for more than 40 years, and provided cover designs and text illustrations for nearly 400 books in total.


Armitage was born in 1913, in the town of Hoylake on the Irish Sea, county of Cheshire. When he died there in 1998, it was part of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral. In 1939 he married Catherine Buckle, who died in 1988. They had two daughters.[2]

Armitage studied at Liverpool School of Art, taught at Wallesey School of Art, and joined the Navy in 1940. He took the name Ionicus for his first cartoon that was published in Punch, 29 March 1944, after two ionic columns in the drawing. Over 40 years he contributed 358 drawings to the magazine.[2]

Book cover art[edit]

Although best known for his depiction of Wodehouse's idyllic England, Ionicus also provided dustjacket illustrations for well-known writers in other genres, such as the following:

Wartime art[edit]

During his wartime service in the British Navy he also contributed to the Admiralty-sponsored monthly magazine Ditty Box.[8]


  1. ^ "Ionicus: Artist whose illustrations caught the spirit of P G Wodehouse's country house world"] (obituary). The Daily Telegraph. 7 February 1998. Reprint at the Russian Wodehouse Society ( retrieved 2008-07-02.
  2. ^ a b c "Obituary: Ionicus". David Langdon. The Independent. 3 February 1998. Retrieved 2015-08-05.
  3. ^ "Diana Wynne Jones UK First Edition cover art: Dustwrappers 1970–1982". Retrieved 2008-07-02.
  4. ^ Ionicus at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 2012-04-29. Select a title to see its linked publication history and general information. Select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.
  5. ^ The King's Ghost. Fantastic Fiction ( Retrieved 2008-07-02. Bibliographic data not including identification of cover or interior illustrator. 'Ionicus' fits a signature visible but illegible in the book cover image; not visible in the cover images for sequel books.
  6. ^ Tales From The Hidden World. Fantastic Fiction. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
  7. ^ The Haunted Grange. Fantastic Fiction. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
  8. ^ "Artists: Ionicus". The Art of War. The National Archives ( Retrieved 2008-07-02.

External links[edit]