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Behind the bar, 1952. Creator: Shirley Markham Featured Image

Behind the bar, 1952. Creator: Shirley Markham

Behind the bar, 1952. Illustration for "Mr Polly" by HG Wells. Shirley Markham (1931-1999) studied Graphic Design and Illustration at Central School of Art in London from 1950-1952. The writer, artist, poet, and illustrator Mervyn Peake (1911-1968) was one of her tutors, and her style of drawing was also influenced by other British illustrators such as Edward Ardizzone, Quentin Blake and Edward Bawden. Markham spent time in the Dolomite Mountains in Italy, and also visited Rome, sketching classical buildings. After graduating from Central, she worked as a graphic designer, producing book illustrations, cartoons for comics, menus and programmes. She gave up her promising career however when she got married in 1957. Middle-class women at that time were expected to devote their energies to bringing up children and running the home, and despite her obvious talent, she lacked the confidence to return to illustration. Her portfolio remained in the family attic for many years, but now her work is published here for the first time

© Shirley Markham Collection / Heritage-Images


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