Peggy Fortnum

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Peggy Fortnum
Margaret Emily Noel Fortnum

(1919-12-23)23 December 1919
Harrow, Middlesex, England
Died28 March 2016(2016-03-28) (aged 96)
Alma materTunbridge Wells School of Art
Central School of Arts and Crafts
Known forIllustrating Paddington Bear
Ralph Nuttall-Smith
(m. 1958; died 1988)
RelativesKevin Brownlow (nephew)
Military career
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
UnitAuxiliary Territorial Service
Battles/warsWorld War II

Margaret Emily Noel "Peggy" Fortnum (23 December 1919 – 28 March 2016)[1] was an English illustrator, best known for illustrating children's literature series Paddington Bear.


Fortnum was born in England on 23 December 1919, at Harrow, Middlesex. She briefly attended Tunbridge Wells School of Art in 1939, before enlisting in the Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War II.[2] While in the military, she sustained serious injuries when she was run over by a truck, requiring a prolonged period of recovery.[1]

After her recovery from injury, she attended the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London.[2] She worked as an art teacher, painter, and textile designer before becoming a full-time book illustrator. As of 2015, she had illustrated nearly eighty books.[3] Fortnum's first commission was for Dorcas the Wooden Doll by Mary Fielding Moore, published in 1944.[4]

Her best-known illustrations are of Michael Bond's character, Paddington Bear.[5] The first illustrations of Paddington were made by Fortnum for A Bear called Paddington.[6] Fortnum's original illustrations were used for HarperCollins's 1998 reissue of A Bear Called Paddington, which celebrated the 40th anniversary of the publication of the first Paddington book.[7]

Although her pen-and-ink drawings of Paddington were done in black and white, some of her work has been coloured by other artists, including her step granddaughter, Caroline Nuttall-Smith.[6] One of Fortnum's Paddington illustrations was part of a series of first class stamps issued by the Royal Mail in 2006 that celebrated animals from children's literature.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Fortnum married artist and sculptor Ralph Nuttall-Smith in 1958, and he died in 1988.[4] Fortnum resided in Essex, England, and died in March 2016 at the age of 96. She suffered from dementia.[2] She was survived by her two nephews, the film historian Kevin Brownlow, and the sculptor John Fortnum.[4]

Further reading[edit]

  • Peggy Fortnum, Running Wild London : Chatto and Windus, 1975 ISBN 9780701150686


  1. ^ a b Langer, Emily (April 6, 2016). "Peggy Fortnum, artist who brought Paddington Bear to life, dies at 96". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 6, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b c Roberts, Sam (April 8, 2016). "Peggy Fortnum, Illustrator of Paddington, Dies at 96". New York Times. Retrieved 9 April 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ [1], 32windsorgardens, 08 March 2020
  4. ^ a b c "Peggy Fortnum, Obituary". The Guardian. April 4, 2016.
  5. ^ Silvey, Anita, ed. "The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators", Houghton Mifflin books, 2002, p. 51. ISBN 0-618-19082-1
  6. ^ a b Peggy Fortnum,, retrieved 13 October 2015
  7. ^ a b "Peggy Fortnum, illustrator - obituary". The Telegraph. 2016-04-06. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-03-09.

External links[edit]