Sybil Tawse decorative title panel        
Sybil Tawse: Gallery of Book Illustrations

This gallery of Sybil Tawse includes photographs of painted colour plates and illustrations in ink published between 1908 and 1941, which I have produced from books in my library in the interest of offering an online resource of the artist's work.

My admiration for these drawings by Sybil Tawse is the precise depth and quality of feeling she communicates in her subjects with only simple strokes.

The illustrations are organized by published book, listed below. The book titles link to the page containing the illustrations for that book. These web pages have a minimum of ornament and use no special scripts.

This gallery has 182 colour plates, 257 illustrations in ink, and 55 cover and dustwrapper images from 32 books, along with 65 documentary images including U.K. government records, coloured lithographs, watercolour paintings, and photographs. The plates are scanned from first edition copies of the books, in which the quality of colour production printing varied significantly.

These webpages were created and produced in Canada in April 2021, fifty years after Miss Tawse passed away in February 1971.

If you use these images in your article or blog, please acknowledge with a link to
I have no reward for this work except for your links back to this location, thank you. Images might be protected in the United Kingdom, where the regulations for intellectual property are not the same for term as Canada where these webpages were created and published.

Small banner with Sybil Tawse's signature            

Sybil Tawse was born on September 26, 1886, the fifth child of George Tawse and Elizabeth Ann Harrison. The family lived in Bishopwearmouth (now part of Sunderland) in County Durham (now Tyne and Wear). She went to London to study at Lambeth School of Art and The Royal School of Art, where she was a King's Prize Scholar and a Silver and Bronze Medalist, exhibiting at the Royal Academy and at the Brighton Art Gallery. In London she lived on Gloucester Road, South Kensington, with her sisters Catherine and Gladys, then with Gladys in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, building a steady career illustrating books, designing posters, and portrait painting. Tawse never married, passing away in Portsmouth on 6th February, 1971 at the age of 84.

Biographical documents: U.K. Census and other public registers, location views.
Artwork of biographical interest: Coloured lithographs and watercolour paintings.

1907 · Painted Pottery Design (1907) and other paintings and drawings

1908 · Our Own Story Book by E. Nesbit, Sheila Braine et al (2 plates)

1909 · Nister's Holiday Annual [1909] edited by Alfred C. Playne (illustration)

1910 · Funny Folks (4 plates)

1910 · Dulcie's Love Story by Evelyn Everett-Green (4 plates)

1910 · Aunt Judith: The Story of a Loving Life by Grace Beaumont (4 plates)

1910 · The Essays of Elia by Charles Lamb (24 plates)

1912 · Tales After Tea (frontis)

1913 · Stories for All Times (endpaper illustrations)

1913 · The Fairchild Family by Mrs. [Mary Martha] Sherwood (8 plates)

1914 · Cranford by Mrs. Gaskell (8 plates)

1915 · Tales from the Poets selected and arranged by W.J. Glover (8 plates)

1915 · The Heroes, or Greek Fairy Tales by Charles Kingsley (8 plates)

1916 · The Ideal Home by Matilda Lees-Dods (36 plates)
          Part 1: Plates 1 through 18
          Part 2: Plates 19 through 36

1919 · Stories of Gods and Heroes by Thomas Bulfinch (8 plates)

1920 · The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (8 plates)

1921 · Mr. Midshipman Easy by Captain Fredrich Marryat (8 plates)

1925 · That Boarding School Girl by Dorita Fairlie Bruce (cover)

1925 · Katherine the Queen by F.F. Montresor (watercolour illustration)

1926 · Miss Esperance & Mr. Wycherly by L.A. Harker (frontis and 44 illustrations)

1926 · Catriona by R.L. Stevenson (frontis)

1929 · In The Swiss Mountains by Johanna Spyri (8 plates)

1929 · Silas Marner by George Eliot (8 illustrations)

1930 · John Halifax, Gentleman by Mrs. Craik (frontis and 4 illustrations)

1931 · Our Child's Red-Letter Days by M. Allbutt (4 plates and 44 illustrations)
          Illustrations in ink

1932 · Mother Goose English nursery rhymes for children (12 plates)
          A selection of illustrations in ink Part 1
          A selection of illustrations in ink Part 2
          A selection of illustrations in ink Part 3
          A selection of illustrations in ink Part 4

1933 · Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (8 plates)

1935 · The Goodieman's Whistle by Agnes Grozier Herbertson (7 illustrations)

1938 · Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter (8 plates)

1941 · Glen Robin by F.J.E. Bennett (frontis and 16 illustrations)

1976 · Read Me a Story compiled by Frank Waters
          (7 illustrations from Mother Goose)

1979 · Playtime Reading with Mother compiled by Frank Waters
          (10 illustrations from Mother Goose)

Books undated by the publisher use the year of publication shown in the British Library catalogue.   

Portrait of Frederick Alford 1956 - Sybil Tawse

Portrait of Charles Frederick Alford, London 1956
Courtesy Professor Emeritus C. Fred Alford, University
of Maryland, who is about nine years old in the painting.
Larger image shown in Artwork of Biographical Interest.

If you are aware of a book containing Sybil Tawse illustrations that I do not have here, or Sybil Tawse artwork on offer, please let me know in an email.

The detail style and technique in the original paintings and illustrations varies over the thirty-five year publishing history represented in these galleries. The colour separations for printing and the quality of production printing varied significantly.

The images here are generally 520 pixels wide, for use with hand-held devices as well as laptop or desktop browsers, captured from first edition printed copies of the books with a Canon LiDE or iOCHOW S5 camera scanner. I have saved the illustrations at Pinterest at 1000 pixels wide, username PwyllDafydd (my Welsh name).

Sybil Tawse - Sybil Tawse Xmas Poster 1927    

Sybil Tawse Xmas Poster for the London Underground, 1927
London Transport Museum

The Sybil Tawse Project bookself

Some of the Sybil Tawse project bookshelf.

This gallery was created for scholarly and recreational interest only.
Thanks to Julie T. Rose for encouragement and counsel.
Original photographs of Sybil Tawse artwork copyright © Paul Davies, 2023
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