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 the faces of 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, 223 illustrations in ink, and 50 cover and dustwrapper images from 29 books, along with 38 documentary images including U.K. government records, coloured lithographs, watercolour paintings, and photographs.

These webpages were created in April 2021, fifty years after Miss Tawse passed away in March 1971.

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, building a steady career illustrating books, designing posters, and portrait painting. Tawse never married, passing away in Portsmouth on March 1, 1971 at the age of 84.

Biographical documents: U.K. Census, Electors Register, Registration of Deaths, coloured lithographs and watercolour paintings of biographical note, and location photos.

1907 · Painted Pottery Design National Exhibition (1907) and other early work

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)

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

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.

If you use these images in your article or blog, please acknowledge with a link to
I have no reward for all this work except for your links back to this location. Thank you.

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

The images here are generally 520 pixels wide, for use with hand-held devices as well as laptop or desktop browsers. I am also saving the illustrations on boards at Pinterest at 1000 pixels wide, username PwyllDafydd (my Welsh name).

Most of these images have been captured from first edition copies with a iOCHOW S5 22-megapixel camera scanner, which device helps resolve any fuzziness, although with colour zone edges sometimes a little hard. Some books were done with a Canon LiDE 220 flatbed scanner where the iOCHOW result was too stark.

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 by Paul Davies, Toronto, Canada.
Thanks to Julie T. Rose for encouragement and counsel.
Original photographs of Sybil Tawse artwork copyright © Paul Davies, 2021
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