Baynes, Pauline (1922—)

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Baynes, Pauline (1922—)

English illustrator, known for illustrating the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Born on September 9, 1922, in Brighton, England; daughter of Frederick William Wilberforce (a Commissioner in the Indian Civil Service) and Jessie Harriet Maude (Cunningham) Baynes; attended Farnham School of art, 1937; SladeSchool of Art, 1939–40; married Fritz Otto Gasch (a garden contractor), on March 25, 1961.

Writings (all self-illustrated):

Victoria and the Golden Bird (1947); How Dog Began (1986); Good King Wenceslas (1987).


Victoria Stevenson, Clover Magic (1944); V. Stevenson, The Magic Footstool (1946); J.R.R. Tolkien, Farmer Giles of Ham (1949); V. Stevenson, The Magic Broom (1950); C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950); C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian (1951); C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader" (1952); Marjorie Phillips, Annabel and Bryony (1953); C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair (1953); C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy (1954); Rhoda Power, From the Fury Northmen (1957); Dorothy Ensor, The Adventures of Hakim Tai (1960); Mary C. Borer, Don Quixote (1960); Edmund Spenser, Saint George and the Dragon (1961); Lynette Muir, The Unicorn Window (1961); Alison Uttley, The Little Knife That Did All the Work (1962); J.R.R. Tolkien, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil (1962); Hans Christian Andersen, Andersen's Fairy Tales (1963); Iona Opie and Peter Opie, editors, The Puffin Book of Nursery Rhymes (1964); A. Uttley, Recipes from an Old Farmhouse (1966); J.R.R. Tolkien, Smith

of Wootton Major (1967); Jennifer Westwood, Medieval Tales (1967); Rumer Godden, The Dragon of Oq (1981); Mary Norton, The Borrowers Avenged (1982); R. Godden, Four Dolls (1983); Peter Dickinson, The Iron Lion (1983); Rudyard Kipling, How the Whale Got His Throat (1983); Anna Sewell, Black Beauty (1984); Ursula Moray Williams, The Further Adventures of Gobbolino and the Little Wooden Horse (1984); Cecil Frances Alexander, All Things Bright and Beautiful (1986); George Macbeth, Daniel (1986); Beatrix Potter, Country Tales (1987); B. Potter, Wag-by-Wall (1987); J.R.R. Tolkien, Bilbo's Last Song; Praise Be to God.

Although born in England, Pauline Baynes spent the first five years of her life in a remote jungle in India, where her father was stationed in the Indian Civil Service. When her mother Jessie became ill, Pauline and her older sister Angela were sent back to England and placed in Farnborough Convent while their mother recuperated in a nursing home. Accustomed to having things largely her own way, Baynes found the discipline and enormity of the institution overwhelming. She was constantly being punished for one thing or another: "I remember being made to kneel down in the long gallery in disgrace, and the whole school filed past." The experience, she believes, made her suspicious and belligerent.

After two years at Farnborough, Baynes lived in a variety of hotels and guest houses with her mother and sister, until taking up residence in a proper and strict Victorian boarding school in Camberley, Surrey, where she stayed until she was 15. Again Baynes had difficulty conforming to the rules of conduct and was asked to leave twice for various infractions. "I was always rebelling against any sort of authority and particularly resented older girls telling me what to do." she said. "I must have been very tiresome, difficult, and nonconformist."

Influenced by her sister who attended art school before her, Baynes began to draw at an early age. Art quickly became an obsession, a way for her to excel in school. In 1937, she persuaded her mother to let her enter Farnham Art School instead of taking her certificate examinations. At Farnham, Baynes did not enjoy the disciplines of perspective and life drawing but found a teacher, Ann Heywood , who encouraged her to explore her leanings toward design and decorative art. Baynes also mastered art appreciation at Farnham, albeit in a relatively unique way. "The bedrooms at the school were named after different English painters: Watts, Millais, Romney, and so on. In time I slept in most of the rooms, and got to know the pictures."

With the outbreak of World War II, Baynes joined her sister Angela at the Slade School, which had been evacuated to Oxford. As a special concession, she was allowed to work alongside her sister, who was finishing a diploma course. During the 1940s, they both did voluntary war work, which included caring for baby evacuees. They later worked full time for the British army's Camouflage Development and Training Centre, making demonstration models. A colleague at the time, the eccentric printer Perry Powell, engaged Baynes in illustrating books he wanted to publish in paperback, based on the popular Puffin collection. Her first illustrations for the series were for Question Mark, about a little boy who was constantly asking questions.

Bayne's career took off as a result of her correspondence with Harry Price, author of The Most Haunted House in Britain. Aware of his keen interest in all psychic phenomena, Baynes decorated a letter to him with a ghost hanging on a nail. Price showed the letter to Frank Whittaker, the editor of Country Life, which led to a commission to illustrate Victoria Stevenson 's Clover Magic, Baynes' first "proper" book in hardback.

Her first work for J.R.R. Tolkien, Farmer Giles of Ham, resulted in a friendship with the author and his wife, as well as subsequent assignments, including the cover for The Lord of the Rings. Although Baynes' reputation was made on illustrations for C.S. Lewis, most of them were done during a short period at the beginning of her career. She met the author on only two occasions, one of which she recorded in her diary in matter-of-fact fashion: "Had lunch with C.S. Lewis. Came home. Made rock cakes." She remembers that he only criticized two things during their association. "I drew someone rowing the wrong way and he very gently asked if I could possibly turn him around; his other request was that I pretty the children up a little."

Baynes has received numerous awards for her work, and her extraordinary output of illustrations has included a number of unusual assignments. One of her favorites was Alison Uttley 's Recipes from an Old Farmhouse, which involved the challenge of piecing together ideas from torn-up paper on which the recipes and notes had been submitted to her. For the National Gallery's Children's Book, she produced an illustration of Michelangelo's ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Her most unique commission was a design for the world's largest crewel embroidery for Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis. Although Baynes refers to it as a "little design," she was amazed at the resultant embroidery, which people came from all over the country to see.

In 1961, after years of contented living alone, Baynes met and married Fritz Gasch, a garden contractor. She described him as the best thing that ever happened to her, bringing to her life companionship and love she had never known. After his death, she continued her daily routine, walking her dogs Bertha and Mighty after breakfast, then settling down to work throughout the day. Baynes believes she has led a charmed life. "My sister was indeed a beacon that I could follow, and my husband the light of my life; they are both dead, alas, but the slow-burning candle that is my obsession with illustrating still glows hopefully on."

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts

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Baynes, Pauline (1922—)

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