Friday 24 May 2013


The artist and writer Kathleen Hale - who was born on this day in 1898 - had the unusual distinction of living in three centuries: she died in 2000 at the grand old age of 101. Her 18 illustrated books chronicling the adventures of Orlando the Marmalade Cat are her legacy. The stories are perhaps nothing special, but the pictures are something else - zestful, witty, elegant, packed with detail and beautifully designed. Amazingly, she made her own lithographic plates for every one of them - 128 for each of the 18 Orlando volumes. And she managed all this work on top of family life, a busy social life and an extremely productive career as a painter, sculptor and poster-maker - it's a wonder she lived so long.  She left a disarmingly frank memoir called A Slender Reputation - and there's more about the Orlando books (and those great dust-jackets) here...
Hmm, the Frisky Housewife, eh?

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