Monday, 29 November 2010

Pauline Baynes

With the movie for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, coming out on December 10th I thought I might say a word or two about it. I wont write something on C.S. Lewis, even though I think him a most worthy subject, because I feel everyone has just about already said everything that is to be said, on his life. I will instead tell you a bit about the first illustrator of the Narnia books; Pauline Baynes.

Pauline Diana Baynes was born September 9, 1922 in Hove, Sussex. Pauline spent the earliest years of her life in India where her father was a commissioner in the Indian Civil Service. When she was five Pauline and her sister Angela where sent back to England to school. Pauline studied art at Farnham School of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art before returning to the school of her childhood to teach. In 1940 she and her sister joined the Camouflage Department and Training Centre at Farnham Castle as model makers. She was eventually placed in the map-making department which would help her in drawing of the maps of Narnia for C.S. Lewis and Middle Earth for J.R.R. Tolkien. After the war Baynes kept house for her widowed father. Pauline was quite exacting and she had very high standards for herself and her pupils at Beaufront. Her first book as both author and illustrator was Victoria and the Golden Bird (1948), she also illustrated for magazines, greeting cards and advertisements. The book most remembered and perhaps most loved that Baynes illustrated was The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis, published in 1950. In the six years that followed Pauline illustrated the following six Narnia books ending with The Last Battle (1956).

Miss Baynes loved animals and especially dogs, it was through this love she met Fritz Gasch, who had a job selling pet food. Pauline and Fritz were married in 1961 and remained contentedly married until his death in 1988.  Pauline continued writing and illustrating until just before death, her last book was The Elephant's Ball published in 2007. Pauline Diana Baynes died on August 1, 2008 at the age of 85.

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