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Gunvor (1934 - 23 April 2014) and Peter Edwards (1934 - 3 April 2017) were artists who illustrated the Railway Series from 1963 to 1972.

The Edwards were married until Gunvor's death at the age of eighty after a battle with dementia on 23 April 2014. Peter died three years later at the age of eighty-three with cancer on 3 April 2017.

Career

After John T. Kenney resigned from the Railway Series due to his failing eyesight, editor Eric Marriott asked Swedish-born artist Gunvor Edwards to try her hand at illustrating the Reverend W. Awdry's latest book, Stepney the "Bluebell" Engine. Gunvor accepted the commission and decided to start her work well into the book with the illustration of the Diesel standing alongside the other engines in their shed. However, Gunvor had difficulty with the small space she was required to work with (approximately ten by six inches). She turned to her husband, Peter, who was, as he put it, "trying to be a 'serious' artist." Although he was no more able to imitate earlier Railway Series illustrators than his wife, both Marriot and the Reverend W. Awdry were satisfied with his pictures. Although Edwards' style was more impressionistic than that of any previous Railway Series artist, Wilbert liked his work because he drew from life and "obviously had an affection for the characters."

Inspiration

Edwards often went on location to sketch real locomotives and landscapes to get inspiration for illustrations. "At a time in our life," said Edwards, "of short funds and few breaks, the family had an excuse to explore the Welsh Coast, Lakeland, Cornwall and Devon, Sussex and Kent with a steam trip to cap it all!" This kind of dedication impressed the author; as he recalled, "Peter was so keen on getting authentic drawings of the locomotives that he went down to Llanberis in January to visit workshops of the Snowdon Mountain Railway."

Edwards' art style was more impressionistic than the bright, juvenile-oriented tone of Dalby's art or Kenney's relatively monochrome portraits, imbibing the series' art with more subtlety of lining, thin brush strokes, and an emphasis on the lighting of scenes.

Working life

Edwards continued working as the Railway Series' illustrator until 1972 with the publication of the final book, Tramway Engines. He also illustrated the "Surprise Packet" in 1971 at a time when Awdry had writer's block, as well as the box art for the 1965 Meccano Percy set. His illustrations appear to have inspired Edgar Hodges's work on the 1979 and 1980 annuals.

Books Illustrated

Trivia

  • In the late summer of 2007, SiF's "Troublesome Truck," on behalf of SiF, received a reply from Peter Edwards.
  • Despite being the main artist of Stepney the "Bluebell" Engine and the sole artist for all further books, Peter shared joint credit with his wife for all of them.

Gallery