The magic of Edward Ardizzone

Edward Ardizzone was famous English artist best known as a children book illustrator and official war artist. Born in French Indo – China (now Vietnam), his father was of Italian descendent and mother was English who was also engaged in watercolor painting. Five years later the family moved to England where he continued to attend the school along with his two sisters. Along with his regular work as clerk, Ardizzone attended evening classes at the Westminster School of Art which is his only formal education as an artist. Soon after he left his job and started to work as a full time artist.

His best known work , the Tim series features the maritime adventure of a young hero. Those books were both written and illustrated by Ardizzone.  What I especially like about these books (and generally about his work) is simplicity in breathing life into characters. Everything is live, subtle and harmonious. Every image tells the story without words and I think it makes him true master of illustration. His work is timeless.


tim triptych

edward Ardizzone-Tim2

images  edward-ardizzone-tim-and-lucy

Beside working as an illustrator for children books, he established himself as an offical war artist between two world wars with his book Baggage to the Enemy.

Ardizzone,_'Baggage_to_the_Enemy Ardizzone,_'Baggage_to_the_Enemy2 Gab6

The most famous book of his was a Tim all alone, a part of Tim series which brought him Kate Greenaway Award for unique book illustration style.

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Tim all Alone


Peter the Wandrer was another publicated book by E. Ardizzone.


He continued to illustrate books for many other authors and what made his work more unique is inking title and author’s name by its own hand so it made books look more authentic (Clive King’s Stig of the Dump (1963).


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In 1966 with his daughter in law Aingelda Ardizzone publicated The Little Girl and the Tiny Doll. 



At that time he also designed  birthday greetings telegram for post office and later publicated another book called The Wrong Side of the Bed. Hand written title and author’s name make his work even more authentic and outstanding and it is undoubtly much better choice than using some font. The more I see the more I am mesmerized.



The Nurse Matilda was another book series illustrated by Ardizzone and written by his cousin Christianna Brand.




Tim’s Last Voyage expected to be the last book from Tim series but it wasn’t. Again with his daughter in law Aingelda Ardizzone publicated The Night Ride.

Edward Ardizzone Night Ride


In 1977 he publicated Ship’s Cook Ginger. His last major work was illustrations for A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas.

What I like about this great artist is subtility of style based on his skilled watercolor practise and ink drawing which is evident in harmony of gentle lines and subdued tones. Equally successful as a both writer and illustrator placed him among most significant artist of 20th century.

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