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 am producing from books in my own library in the interest of offering an online resource of the artist's work. I created this catalogue in April 2021, fifty years after Miss Tawse passed away in March 1971.

My admiration for these drawings by Sybil Tawse, over others working at the time, 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 or pages containing the illustrations for that book. If the link is active, then I have completed the gallery for that book. Only one still to add. These web pages have a minimum of ornament and use no special scripts.

This gallery thus far includes a total of 173 colour plates and 172 ink illustrations from 26 books.

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 and photos: U.K. Census, Electors Register, Registration of Deaths

1907 · Painted Pottery Design National Exhibition (1907) and other student 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 · The Essays of Elia by Charles Lamb (24 plates)

1911 · Funny Folks (4 plates)

1912 · Tales After Tea (frontis)

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

1913 · Dulcie's Love Story by Evelyn Everett-Green (4 plates)

1914 · Stories for All Times (endpaper illustrations)

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)

1920 · Catriona by R.L. Stevenson (frontis)

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)

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

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

1931 · Our Child's Red Letter Days by Marion Allbutt (4 plates)

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

1932 · Silas Marner by George Eliot (8 illustrations)

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

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

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

If you are aware of a book containing Sybil Tawse illustrations that I do not have here, 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 illustration images 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).

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. The colour plates in the books are relatively small, and some plates were fuzzy or saturated under the microscope of a scanning camera.

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 a little hard. A few books had to be done with a Canon Lide 220 flatbed scanner where the iOCHOW result was too stark. (These might have come out using an iPhone camera, but which I found difficult to control for consistent flat framing at a steady focal distance, then didn't bear up well under enlargement.)

Sybil Tawse - Sybil Tawse Xmas Poster 1927    

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

The Sybil Tawse Project bookself

The Sybil Tawse project bookshelf.

This gallery created by Paul Davies, Toronto, Canada.
Original photographs of Sybil Tawse artwork copyright © Paul Davies, 2021
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