I am speaking of that wondrous mistress of the the magical realms of Narnia and Middle-earth, Pauline Baynes, whose illustrations, decorations and map-making for the works of C S Lewis and J R R Tolkien are – despite the talented offerings of many successive artists and filmmakers – still indelibly associated with those now classic texts.
The work of this remarkable artist is currently being celebrated with an exhibition, 'An Artist's Imagination' at The Museum of Farnham, appropriately since she trained at the Farnham School of Art and lived much of her life in nearby Dockenfield.
In additions to a display of her books, many of which – for world myths and religious texts – will come as a fascinating surprise to those who only know Baynes' drawings for the Chronicles of Narnia and Tolkien stories like Farmer Giles of Ham and The Adventures of Tom Bombadil.
There are examples of the early illustrations by her (and her talented sister, Angela) as well as cover art for The Tattler and other magazines and commercial art for such companies as biscuit manufacturer, Huntley and Palmer...
This particular image is reproduced on a beautiful Christmas card that can purchased at the museum, price £2.00. A second card shows one of Baynes' stunning seasonal covers for The Tattler.
Several of our pieces are on display including this illustration of Lucy and the Sea People (from The Voyage of the 'Dawn Treader') made for my book, The Land of Narnia...
A wonderful image of Famer Giles confronting Chrysophylax from Tolkien's Stories and Poems...
There is also this unexpected vision of demons and monsters entitled 'The Final Triunmph of Good over the Devil'...
Photo of Pauline Baynes by David Weeks
The exhibition, An Artist's Imagination, continues until 8 January 2013. Admission free.
The Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm. Closed 23 December–1 January.
The Museum of Farnham
38 West Street
Telephone: 01252 715094