Pauline Baynes is a much-admired illustrator
primarily known for her work with children's books
, above all the seven books of the Chronicles of Narnia
by C.S. Lewis
, but she also did several of J.R.R. Tolkien
's smaller works, including Farmer Giles of Ham
and Smith of Wootton Major
Her style is immediately recognisable: rather sharp, miniaturist pieces owing a fair bit to her heroes such as Arthur Rackham and Edward Dulac. In the overtly medieval Smith of Wootton Major her pictures are considerably stylised into the quaint angles of medieval drawing.
She became friends with Tolkien but had an uneasy relationship with Lewis, whom she only met twice. The first occasion was in December 1949 when she was working on his first Narnia book, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (published 1950). She remembers he picked out and ate all the walnuts, and his brother Warnie Lewis tried to make her feel comfortable. She was not.
Lewis later recalled she was far too pretty, and that probably rattled him to distraction. The second meeting was lunch at Waterloo Station, equally unremarkable. He was pleasant about her illustrations to her face, regarding them as a necessary evil in a children's book, but carped at some of them elsewhere and said she couldn't draw lions. She recalls that she had not realised the Christian allegory in Lewis's stories.
Born in India in 1922, her father being a commissioner at Agra, the family returned to England when she was five, leaving her father behind. Her father and mother were not on close terms, and he had a mistress. Pauline stayed unmarried and looked after him, living in a cottage nearby, in Farnham in Surrey.
In 1961 she met and married a German, Fritz Gasch, and they were together until his death in 1988. Later, when Eastern Europe opened up, she was contacted by his daughter from a first marriage, before he had become a prisoner of war, and they are now close, Pauline effectively becoming a grandmother to the other's children. But she suffered terribly on his death, including a lot of memory loss.
Pauline Baynes won the 1968 Kate Greenaway Award for The Dictionary of Chivalry, and has altogether illustrated over 100 books, her first being in 1940. She had studied at the Slade School of Art but this was curtailed by the need to do technical draughting in the War.
She continues to work, and for the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of the Narnia series she produced a lot of subtly coloured versions of her original work.
I have read somewhere that she keeps rottweilers.
Much of the detail of this is from an interview with her at http://personal.bgsu.edu/~edwards/baynes.html, and there's a bit more at http://www.bookpage.com/0009bp/pauline_baynes.html. Picture of her with Lewis's stepson Douglas Gresham was at http://www.narnia.com/illustrators.html, but that's no longer found.