Friday 31 January 2014

Eileen Soper's Little Stitcher

Eileen Soper was born 1905, the daughter of an illustrator, George Soper. Along with her elder sister Eva, she attended Olive Downing’s School in Knebworth and Hitchin Girls’ School. At the time of her father’s death, in 1942, she was worked primarily as an illustrator, notably with the children's author, Enid Blyton. Eileen illustrated the entire series of Famous Five adventures and a vast range of other books. In addition she authored and illustrated 23 books of her own that displayed her growing talent for wildlife illustration. She was a founder member of the Society of Wildlife Artists in 1964 and was elected to the membership of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters in 1972. Then rather like a character from Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping she let much of the rare flora planted by her father return to a state of wildness and even allowed the animals of the garden into the house. She shared this singular location with only one other human, her somewhat shadowy sister Eva. Eileen died in 1990, Eva outlived her by only six months. The estate and copyright of George and Eileen Soper are now in the care of the Chris Beetles Gallery.

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