Three original Ladybird illustrations from People at Work
No Place No Publisher. 1965.
Three original Ladybird gouache and watercolour on board illustrations from People at Work- The Miner, Series 606B, Book 8 comprising images 6, 21 & 24; all 26.9cm x 17.7cm. John Berry (1920-2009) served as a war artist during the Second World War and was one of the chief illustrators for Ladybird Books. His pictures for the 20 books of the Ladybird People at Work series form a complete visual record of British industry in the early 1960s – an age of industrial prosperity where potteries, coal mines and car manufacture were flourishing. Berry attended Hammersmith College of Art before winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy. To his lifelong regret, the outbreak of war prevented him from taking up his scholarship. He went into the RAF and was sent to the Middle East. There, as part of a holding unit waiting to go into Tobruk, he offered to make up a poster advertising a national day of prayer. The artwork came to the attention of Air Marshal Arthur Tedder, who promptly had Berry seconded to the army as a war artist. Berry was the only war artist drawn from the ranks. While serving, Berry made the acquaintance of a Major James Riddell, who announced that he wrote children's books and that, once they were demobilised, he would like Berry to illustrate them. Their first joint venture, Once Upon a Time, appeared in 1947. Through Riddell, too, Berry began to paint portraits on commission, travelling all over Britain. At the very end of the 1950s he joined Ladybird. The first book he was to illustrate was The Ladybird Book of London. In the 1980s Berry returned to portraiture – President George Bush Sr and Diana, Princess of Wales, were among his subjects. Fine.