JOHNSTONE, Janet Grahame

1928 - 1979

Johnstone sisters

Janet Grahame Johnstone was born at Marylebone, London on 1 June 1928, twin daughter of Edward Grahame Johnstone (5 May 1899-19 April 1946) and his wife Doris Clare née Zinkeisen, who married at Marylebone in 1927. Her mother was an artist as was Janet's twin sister Anne Grahame Johnstone. Janet attended the Heathfield School in Ascot, Berkshire during World War II, her artistic bent nurtured both at home and at school and after the war attended St Martin's School of Art in London, where she studied period clothing styles. Janet wrote her first story at the age of 16 'Prince Chemico' and it was illustrated by both sisters. The Johnstone sisters' popularity took off in the early 1950s, when they were noticed by publishers and acquired a growing reputation as talented illustrators. They always worked together, passing drawings back and forth across their studio until both twins were satisfied with the outcome. Janet specialised in animals and birds and Anne focused on the period costumes and because of their symbiotic collaboration, it was not until the death of Janet in 1979, there was never a book illustrated under either one of their names alone. Their first important book was illustrating 'The Hundred and One Dalmatians' by Dodie Smith (1956) with further success with later Smith books, 'The Starlight Barking' and 'The Midnight Kittens' which, at that time, made them the most widely recognised illustrators of children's books in England with a business association which developed into an enduring friendship. Her other projects included working for the BBC on 'Andy Pandy' and on the aborted theme park 'Anderson's World' in Denmark before moving, with her mother and Anne to Badingham Suffolk in 1966. Janet Grahame Johnstone died at The White House, Badingham, Suffolk on 20 January 1979, because of smoke inhalation following a fire in their kitchen. Like her sister she was unmarried.

Works by This Artist