Sheila Robinson

We had the pleasure of printmaker Chloe Cheese's company last week - she was staying with us whilst working on a print for our St. Jude's In The City exhibition in Edinburgh in July.

The week before we'd received of Chloe's mother Sheila Robinson's illustrated book of the Brothers Grimm's fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses.

This was never published in her lifetime but The Centre for Children's Book Studies at Anglia Ruskin University have worked with the Fry Art Gallery in Saffron Walden (who hold the original artwork in their archives) to publish the book for the first time, instigated by Professor Martin Salisbury with additional design and retouching by Brian Webb of Webb & Webb Design.

The illustrations - with skilfully varied weight of line and texture - are just beautiful. Where she has applied colour it is in a simple printmakerly way and the delicate script text and drawings are combined to fit a landscape format. The dust jacket is lined with spreads from her original sketchbooks. It's a beautiful piece of print.

Printmaker Chloe Cheese says of the book…

"The beautiful pen and ink drawings and delicate text of this book fascinated me when I was a child and drew me into the enchanted world of the fairy tale.

Although she hoped for publication at the time, she was still a young woman and I think other things, such as working on The Festival of Britain, marrying and having children, took over her life so that this book was put to one side.

The princesses in the boats rowing across the lake in particular is an image that fired my imagination and inspired me to emulate my mother to become an illustrator myself. Looking at this illustration now I admire the lightness of touch and the use of light and shade. The picture still takes me to the edge of the lake and into the story."

Copies can be ordered direct from Anglia Ruskin University. You might also like to visit the Fry Art Gallery website to see more of Sheila Robinson's work.