Edward Ardizzone (1900-1979)
Edward Jeffrey Irving Ardizzone, CBE, RA (16 October 1900 – 8 November 1979) was an English artist and creator of children's books.
For Tim All Alone (Oxford, 1956), which he wrote and illustrated, Ardizzone won the inaugural Kate Greenaway Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book illustration by a British subject. For the 50th anniversary of the Medal (1955–2005) it was named one of the top ten winning works, selected by a panel to compose the ballot for a public election of the all-time favourite.
In World War II Ardizzone worked as an full-time, official war artist assigned to the War Office by the War Artists' Advisory Committee. He first served with the British Expeditionary Force in France and Belgium before being evacuated back to Britain. In January 1942 he recorded the arrival of American troops in Northern Ireland. Later that year he went to North Africa and joined the British First Army on its march to Tunisia and then joined the Eighth Army. After El Alamein he went to France during the Allied invasion and then on to Sicily. He witnessed the fall of both Reggio Calabria and Naples, and spent the winter of 1944 in Italy before travelling to Germany. His early experiences between Arras and Boulogne are illustrated and described in his book Baggage to the Enemy (London 1941).
An extensive collection of his war pictures, as well as his wartime diaries, can be seen at The Imperial War Museum.
His style is naturalistic but subdued, featuring gentle lines and delicate watercolours, but with great attention to particular details. He was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts in 1970, and appointed CBE in 1971. The British Library published an illustrated bibliography of his works in 2003. A blue plaque unveiled in 2007 commemorates Ardizzone at 130 Elgin Avenue in Maida Vale.