Peggy Fortnum, the original illustrator of the Paddington Bear novels by Michael Bond, passed away on the 28th March 2016. Peggy was an artist in various media, designer, book illustrator and teacher. She studied at the Tunbridge Wells School of Art and then at the Central School of Art in London.
In 1958 Peggy Fortnum was commissioned by William Collins to illustrate “A Bear Called Paddington” and it is for these lightly sketched and expressive line illustrations of Paddington that she will be best remembered.
When learning the news of her death Michael Bond said:
“She thought very highly of Paddington as I did of her. It was a happy combination.”
Michael Bond’s daughter Karen, Managing Director of Paddington and Company, added:
“There have been many visual interpretations of Paddington over the years but it was Peggy Fortnum who first captured his likeness with her wonderful pen and ink line drawings. She was there at the beginning of Paddington’s journey with the publication of my father’s very first book in 1958 and, almost sixty years later, her illustrations continue to delight fans of all ages. We were saddened to learn of her recent passing but it is lovely to know that so many people will continue to remember her through Paddington.”