The Johnstone twins were amongst the most prolific illustrators of children’s books
in twentieth-century Britain, working from their studio in either London, or the
Today they are remembered chiefly as the first illustrators of
Dodie Smith’s much loved classic, The Hundred and One Dalmatians (1956).
The sisters’ popularity as artists took off in the early 1950s, when they were
noticed by publishers and their reputation as illustrators began to grow. They always
worked together, each assessing and contributing to a piece of work until both were
satisfied. Janet’s interest in animals and birds and Anne’s love of period costumes
reflected strongly in their work, including designs for, amongst other items, greetings
cards. Up to the death of Janet in 1979, there was never a children’s book illustrated
under either one of their names alone.
They produced drawings and paintings for over one hundred books and were
involved in early pioneering children’s television programmes, including Charlie the
Cat, Tai Lu, Andy Pandy, and Bill and Ben the Flower Pot Men.
In this lavishly illustrated book Philip Kelleway discusses the work of the
Johnstone twins and introduces the reader to
their fascinating lives, including being daughters
to the famous artist and stage designer Doris
Phillip Kelleway was born in Kenya and studied at
the Universities of London (Goldsmiths’ College), Marburg,
and Reading, before gaining his doctorate from the
University of East Anglia. His publications include Highly
Desirable: The Zinkeisen Sisters and Their Legacy (2008) and
Julia Heseltine’s Dreamscapes (2009). He is in addition the
co-author together with Paul Mayhew of D’Oyly-John: Living
in the Sun (2012), also published by Halstar.
Imprint: Halstar. ISBN 978 1 906690 49 6, hardback, 238x258mm, 144 pages. Published October 2013.