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
Education Slade School of Fine Art
Known for Illustration, mainly children's books
Notable work 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 several by C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.

Life and work[edit]

Pauline 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 were sent back to England for their schooling. She spent much of her childhood in Farnham,[3] studying at the Farnham School of Art (now the University for the Creative Arts[4]) and eventually attended the Slade School of Fine Art, but after a year there she volunteered to work for the Ministry of Defence, where she made demonstration models for instruction courses.[5] This work did not last long. She was soon transferred to a map-making department, where she acquired skills that she later employed when she drew maps of Narnia for Lewis and of Middle-earth for Tolkien.

Baynes is probably best known for her covers and interior illustrations for The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis, seven books published, one volume a year, from 1950 to 1956 (the first five by Geoffrey Bles, the last two by The Bodley Head). 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 colour".)[6]

When she began work on the Narnia books she was already the chosen illustrator of Lewis's 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:[7]

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 drawings by Baynes appeared not only in Farmer Giles of Ham, but also in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, Smith of Wootton Major, Tree and Leaf and (after the author's death) the poem Bilbo's Last Song, which appeared as a poster in 1974 and as a book in 1990. Baynes also painted the covers for two British paperback editions of The Lord of the Rings (in one volume in 1973 and in three volumes in 1981) and produced illustrated poster versions of the maps from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit as well as the Tolkien-related A Map of Middle-earth.

However, Baynes's own favourite among her works was the set of illustrations she provided for A Dictionary of Chivalry, edited by Grant Uden (Longman, 1968), a project that required two years to complete.[8] As a result, she won the Kate Greenaway Medal from the Library Association for the year's best children's book illustration by a British subject. In a retrospective citation, the Library Association calls it "a reference work that details the life and thoughts of knights".[9] 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 non-fiction.[b]

Four years later, Baynes was a commended runner-up for the Greenaway, for Snail and Caterpillar by Helen Piers (Longman, 1972).[10][c]

Baynes also illustrated The Borrowers Avenged by Mary Norton (1982), the fifth and final book in the Borrowers series,[11] following the death of Diana Stanley, who had illustrated the previous four books. Baynes did the covers for a Puffin edition of the entire series issued in the 1980s.

Personal life[edit]

Baynes married German-born Fritz Otto Gash in 1961 and they lived in a village near Farnham until his death in 1988. Their only child was still-born. Apart from her art, Baynes' interests included world religions and cultures, her pet dogs and the music of Handel, which she played while working. According to her obituaries she had a warm relationship with Tolkien but was professionally offended when learning of C.S. Lewis's criticism "that she could not draw lions".


  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.
    Second edition, Ex Libris: Brian Sibley, 17 October 2008. Retrieved 2012-11-27. Archived 13 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "Farnham artist's Tolkien and Narnia work on display". Get Surrey. 28 November 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "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.
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ "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.
  8. ^ "A Dictionary of Chivalry cover by Pauline Baynes". Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  9. ^ (Greenaway Winner 1968). Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 2012-07-15.
  10. ^ "Kate Greenaway Medal". 2007(?). Curriculum Lab. Elihu Burritt Library. Central Connecticut State University (CCSU). Retrieved 2012-07-02.
  11. ^ "The Borrowers Avenged" (first edition). Library of Congress Catalog Record. Retrieved 2012-07-15.

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