One of our favourite children’s authors is Molly Brett (1902–1990) was an English illustrator and children’s author, best known for her anthropomorphic artwork. Molly (Mary Elizabeth) Brett grew up in Surrey, Great Britain, surrounded by animals and nature. Her mother, Mary Gould Brett, was a respected animal painter who encouraged her daughter to paint from life, and this is reflected in Molly’s gift for making her animals look thoroughly naturalistic while giving them human characteristics and activities. And like Beatrix Potter, her artwork also reflects her great observational powers in depicting nature, especially notable in the illustration below.
Molly began her art training with a correspondence course in illustration, followed by formal instruction at Press Art School and the Guildford Art School. It was at Guildford that she met Margaret Tarrant (also destined to attain substantial fame as an illustrator), who soon became a close friend and lived with her in Cornwall. She began her career by illustrating “weekly papers” for children. One of her earliest commissions was to illustrate stories by Enid Blyton. Inspired by this, she went on to write and illustrate 21 books of her own for the Medici Society of London, with whom she was associated for sixty years. Medici has published over 500 of her paintings as postcards and greeting cards.
Molly Brett’s work has enchanted generations of children with its beautifully drawn details, subtle colours and magical atmosphere. Her work follows in the tradition of other twentieth-century “dressed animal” illustrators such as Beatrix Potter, Margaret Tempest, Racey Helps, and others.
Books include: Good‑night Time Tales, The Jumble Bears, The Forgotten Bear, A surprise for Dumpy, Tom Tit moves house.