Farewell to Peggy Fortnum, the first illustrator of Paddington Bear

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It was announced recently that Peggy Fortnum has died at the age of 96. She was the illustrator who first brought Paddington Bear to life in Michael Bond’s book, ‘A bear called Paddington’.

Peggy was first commissioned to draw Paddington in 1958, depicting the bear from Peru in black and white line drawings. She then worked on the next eight Paddington books, coming back to the bear for another three books, the final one being in 1983.

Peggy took the job of illustrating Paddington seriously. She first spent time visiting London Zoo to draw Malayan bears, to make sure she got the details right.

And the result was the first depiction of the marmalade-loving bear that the world has come to love. Michael Bond said of Fortnum, “She thought very highly of Paddington, as I did of her. It was a happy combination.”

It was indeed a happy combination and we are ever grateful to Peggy for giving us her interpretation of our favourite, duffle coat-wearing bear.

See one of Peggy’s early illustrations of Paddington.

See Peggy’s illustrations on Pinterest.

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