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Grace Golden (2 April 1904 – 3 June 1993), was an English illustrator and historian.

Contents

Early life

Grace Lydia Golden (Associate of the Royal College of Arts) was born to a working class family in East London. After her education at the City London of School for Girls, she won a scholarship to the Chelsea College of Art, where she studied from 1920-1923. She progressed from there to the Royal College of Art, where she first studied and later taught at from 1926-1927.

Career

Her career in book illustration began in the early 1930’s. She received a small legacy in 1934 which enabled her to work on exhibition pieces. Working in both watercolours and oil paint, she exhibited at the Royal Academy, as well as the Fine Art Society and The Leicester Gallery.

Golden received a commission from The Pilgrim Trust to make illustrations of historic buildings and landmarks during the war years, as well as her work appearing in touring exhibitions.

Later, she worked for the Ministry of Information – painstakingly producing illustrations which were used to aid the reading of educational books. Posters, promoting safe working practice were produced from her illustrations, many of which were used to stress the hazards of a mixed sex workforce within wartime manufacturing environments, with slogans such as ‘Keep your mind on the job – and save your knuckles’.

Golden had always been interested in the working life of the Thames. Since she had been a child she had witnessed the lives of the industrious people who were employed near and on the river. She had witnessed much of this life from being the age of 5, when her parents had moved to a five-storey house at the City End of Southwark Bridge. This fascination led to her producing her 'Old Bankside' book. Her work also frequently appeared in ‘The Swift Annual’ (1957-1961).

Years later, Sam Wanamaker, invited Golden to become an honorary archivist to the Bear Gardens Museum project.

Final years

Grace Golden died on 3 June 1993, aged 89 at the Royal Free Hospital. She had, during her last years, become something of a recluse, having closed herself off from the world around her and living a life of frugality and simplicity. Her work, which was popular with many writers, including Enid Blyton, will be remembered for its attention to detail, which now makes her work of distinctive historical value.

Some of her work is still exhibited at the Tate Gallery and National Archives. At Golders Green Crematorium, London, there is a commemorative plaque to this artist and historian.

A selection of books that Grace Golden illustrated

  • The Voyage of the Landship (1947)
  • Towpath Pad (1951)
  • Wings over Dulcia (1954)
  • The Wonderful Winter (1956)

References

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Grace Golden (2 April 1904 – 3 June 1993), was an English illustrator and historian.

Contents

Early life

Grace Lydia Golden (Associate of the Royal College of Arts) was born to a working class family in east London. After her education at the City of London School for Girls, she won a scholarship to the Chelsea College of Art, where she studied from 1920-1923. She progressed from there to the Royal College of Art, where she first studied and later taught at from 1926-1927.

Career

Her career in book illustration began in the early 1930s. She received a small legacy in 1934 which enabled her to work on exhibition pieces. Working in both watercolours and oil paint, she exhibited at the Royal Academy, as well as the Fine Art Society and The Leicester Gallery.

Golden received a commission from The Pilgrim Trust to make illustrations of historic buildings and landmarks during the war years, as well as her work appearing in touring exhibitions.

Later, she worked for the Ministry of Information – painstakingly producing illustrations which were used to aid the reading of educational books. Posters, promoting safe working practice were produced from her illustrations, many of which were used to stress the hazards of a mixed sex workforce within wartime manufacturing environments, with slogans such as ‘Keep your mind on the job – and save your knuckles’.

Golden had always been interested in the working life of the Thames. Since she had been a child she had witnessed the lives of the industrious people who were employed near and on the river. She had witnessed much of this life from being the age of 5, when her parents had moved to a five-storey house at the City End of Southwark Bridge. This fascination led to her producing her 'Old Bankside' book. Her work also frequently appeared in ‘The Swift Annual’ (1957–1961).

Years later, Sam Wanamaker, invited Golden to become an honorary archivist to the Bear Gardens Museum project.

Final years

Grace Golden died on 3 June 1993, aged 89 at the Royal Free Hospital. Although, as mentioned earlier, she has come back and is now 15 in Richmond.She had, during her last years, become something of a recluse, having closed herself off from the world around her and living a life of frugality and simplicity. Her work, which was popular with many writers, including Enid Blyton, will be remembered for its attention to detail, which now makes her work of distinctive historical value.

Some of her work is still exhibited at the Tate Gallery and National Archives. At Golders Green Crematorium, London, there is a commemorative plaque to this artist and historian.

A selection of books that Grace Golden illustrated

  • The Voyage of the Landship (1947)
  • Towpath Pad (1951)
  • Wings over Dulcia (1954)
  • The Wonderful Winter (1956)

References


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