ARDIZZONE, Edward Jeffrey Irving

1900 - 1979

Edward Ardizzone

Edward Jeffrey Irving Ardizzone, was born in Haiphong in the province of Tonkin (now North Korea) on 10 October 1900, eldest of five children of Frenchman, Auguste Ardizzone of the Eastern Extension Telegraph Co., and his wife Margaret née Irving. In 1905 the family returned to England, firstly to London and then coming to East Bergholt, Suffolk. In 1906 his mother returned to China to join her husband, leaving the children in the care of Edward's grandmother, who educated Edward privately with his formal education at Ipswich School 1909-1912, but he proved to be a poor scholar. In 1911, his 35 year old mother Margaret was living at 4 Gainsborough Road, Ipswich with 10 year old Edward, 9 year old Elizabeth Grace, 7 year old Lauretta Mary, 3 year old David Anthony Irving and 10 month old Michael Irving, who was born at Ipswich. The family then moved to Wokingham leaving Edward, together with his cousin Arthur, boarded with Miss Caroline Willis at Pond House, Bucklesham, a village just outside Ipswich and the two boys cycled daily the eight miles to Ipswich School. In 1912 he moved to Clayesmore, a boarding school at Pangbourne and later to Winchester where the art teacher was Miss Annie Hazledene and his house-master was Desmond Coke (1879-1931), the author. Leaving school at the age of eighteen, he enrolled in a course at Canning’s College, Bath studying commerce and found a position at the Warminster Motor Co. then with the China and Japan Trading Company, East India Court, London, and after a short time with the Liverpool Marine Insurance Co., joined the Eastern Telegraph Co. where he remained for six years. Drawing in his spare time and joining Bernard Meninsky’s (1891-1950), life drawing evening classes at the old Westminster School of Art when he started using watercolours. The first book he illustrated was Sheridan Lefanu’s 'In a Glass Darkly' but it was a further five years before his next commission. He made forty drawing for Johnny Walker whisky distillers, receiving the then fabulous amount of £400. He married in 1929, Catherine Berkley Anderson and in 1935, with a wife and two children to support, wrote and illustrated 'Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain' which after a struggle was recommended by an old East Bergholt friend Betty Withycombe, then working at the Clarendon Press, Oxford who showed it to the New York branch of Oxford University Press who finally published it, and after a slow start proved to be successful. He had a commission for the covers of the 'Radio Times' which lasted until the 1950’s and for other journals such as 'London Magazine', 'Punch' &c. and during the Second World War was an official war artist. Elected at Associate of the Royal Academy on 27 April 1962 and a full member on 23 April 1970 and a Senior on 31 December 1975. He had two sons and one daughter and lived at 5 Vine Cottages, Rodmersham Green, Sittingbourne and died on 8 November 1979. He illustrated over 170 books and his old school at Ipswich held an exhibition of his work in 1982. He signed his work 'E. J. I. Ardizzone'.

Works by This Artist