Artists: Various


All information taken from "The Dictionary of 20th Century British Book Illustrators" by Alan Horne, pub. Antique Collectors’ Club, 1994. All the artists below had illustrated earlier books, which confirms Douglas Keens assertion that Ladybird sought out artists established in their own particular fields to work on appropriate titles. Later on, some of these illustrators were asked to work across a range of themes. The fact that many of these seemingly prolific artists (e.g. Wingfield, Winter, Ayton, Aitchison, Lampitt) are not mentioned in the Dictionary might suggest that they did little or no work for anyone other than Ladybird. This is not the case for the artists that are listed; all have a wide range of work to their credit. Info kindly supplied by Chris Lenton.

Book of Trees, 1963

Badmin first studied art at the Camberwell School of Art (1922-24) and then at the R.C.A. (1924-28). He taught at Richmond Art School (1934), St John’s Wood Art School and at the Central School of Art in London from 1954. His work has always been associated with the countryside, and with trees in particular. His talent was based on a deep love for, and experience of, British rural life, and he should be considered part of the revival of artistic interest in the British pastoral landscape. He worked mostly in watercolour or pen and ink.

The first colour reproductions of his work were published in The Graphic (1927) and The Tatler (1928). In 1935, Fortune magazine gave him his first major commission, a series of illustrations of various towns in the USA. He later drew for many other magazines, most notably Radio Times (1951 onwards). During WW2 he worked for the Ministry of Information until he was called up to the RAF in 1942. There, he worked on operational model-making. He also worked for the Pilgrim Trust on the "Recording Britain Scheme" with a number of other artists. This project was later published in two volumes, as Recording Britain, by the OUP.

Badmin illustrated many books, the first being The Highways and Byways of Essex in 1937. He did three books for the Puffin Picture Book series for Penguin, including Village and Town (1942) and Trees in Britain (1943), both of which he wrote as well as illustrated. The latter, produced under difficult wartime conditions by Cowell’s of Ipswich, with the illustrations drawn directly on the plate by the artist and costing just a few pence to buy, has been described as "one of the most beautiful illustrated books of this century" (David Thomas, 1962). Throughout his career he produced a large number of drawings for posters and adverts, working for such organisations as London Transport, Shell, the Bowater Paper Corporation and the British Travel Authority. From 1945 he produced work for calendars and Christmas cards for fine art publishers, Royle’s.


ROLAND GREEN 1896 - 1972
Third Book of British Birds, 195?
British Wild Animals, 1958

Born in Rainham, Kent, he studied at Rochester School of Art and the Regent Street Polytechnic. He painted birds and other wild-life and did etchings as well as illustrations for books. He held many one-man shows in London, especially at the Ackermann Galleries. He lived alone for many years at Hickling Broad in Norfolk.


FRANK HAMPSON 1918 - 1985
First, Second and Third Books of Nursery Rhymes, 1965-67
Kings and Queens 1 and 2, 1968
Stories of our Christmas Customs, 1964
Food/Transport through the Ages, 1968
5b –-Out in the Sun, 1965

Born in Audenshaw, near Manchester, he was educated in local schools and at the King George V Grammar School in Southport. At the age of 13, he entered some comic drawings in an Art competition run by Meccano Magazine, was given a prize and contributed further work over the following two years.

After school he worked for the Post Office, from 1935 as a counter clerk for the GPO. In that year, he started contributing cartoons to Post, the GPO’s official magazine. In 1938, after a period of part-time study, he enrolled full-time at the Victoria College of Arts and Science. There, he struck up a friendship with another artist, Harold Johns. Following army service during WW2 they both enrolled at Southport School of Arts and Crafts, and soon both were doing freelance work.

In 1948 a Lancashire vicar named Marcus Morris invited Hampson to contribute illustrations to his parish magazine, Anvil. It was designed to look like the contemporary Lilliput, and soon gained a wide circulation. After a public movement complained about the violence of imported American comics, Morris and the Hulton Press started a new British comic, Eagle, with Hampson creating the now-legendary Dan Dare front-page strip (1950-60). A studio was created for the production of Dan Dare drawings and merchandise, with Johns and other artists working on projects. However, when Odhams took over the Hulton Press, Hampson resigned, feeling he no longer had control over the character he had created. The cartoon was taken over by Frank Bellamy.

From 1961 to 1964 Hampson worked for advertising and for magazines such as Radio Times. His work for Ladybird was carried out between 1964 and 1971 though the last book, on Winston Churchill, was not published because of Hampson's ill health. He was acknowledged as a great comic artist in the seventies and in the eighties, Eagle comic was briefly revived. However, in 1982, Hampson suffered a massive stroke and he died three years later.


Tootles the Taxi, 1956
The Silver Arrow, 1954
The Ambush, 1955
Most of the "Adventure from History" titles, (1956 on)

The Dictionary simply states that he was an equestrian artist who illustrated some children’s books, among them the Ladybirds we know about and six of the Rev. W. Awdry’s "Railway Series". However, the book "The Thomas the Tank Engine Man" by Brian Sibley (Heinemann, 1995) states that he studied at Leicester College of Art and worked as a commercial artist and illustrator and, in later life, "became a distinguished painter of animal studies and sporting scenes". There is even a picture of him, pipe in mouth, working intently on a canvas.



Born in London, he was educated at Eton and studied in London (1928-31). During WW2 he served as a flying instructor in the RAF and was awarded the AFC in 1945. He has done much advertising work for Shell, completed a series of paintings of natural history subjects for the Midland Bank and decorated a number of ships. He has written and illustrated many books on natural history, mostly for children, his detailed style bearing similarities to that of Rowland Hilder.


JACK MATTHEW born 1911
The "Flight" series 1-6, 1958-62
The Story of Cricket, 1964
The Story of Football, 1964

He grew up in Oldham, Lancs. He studied at Oldham School of Art and at Goldsmiths’ College, concentrating on wood engraving, lithography and illustration. The books he illustrated were usually adventure stories, such as Stevenson’s Catriona (1947). He illustrated two books for Peter Lunn, The Haunted Island and Spanish Galleon with textured pencil drawings, the full-page illustrations printed black over various colours. They are very well drawn and full of action.