Despite his name and the fact that he was born abroad, a French national of mixed Italian and Scottish parentage, Ardizzone is a quintessentially English artist. His early work is firmly grounded in London and the more raffish corners around the family house in Maida Vale.
Tarts Fighting at the Warrington c 1930
He painted his day-to-day world, people chatting in the street, quiet evenings in the pub, families enjoying a day out at the seaside or the fair, art school scenes (like most artists, he taught part time, firstly at Camberwell, and later the Royal College of Art ).
Listening to Mozart, 1964
Ardizzone drew constantly, sometimes on any odd scrap of paper but usually in smallish books, publishers' dummies, which he was given for nothing, had decent paper and were unobtrusive – he did not like being noticed. These sketchbooks are now in The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. http://www.ashmolean.org/departments/westernart/printroom/
Edward Ardizzone's paintings can be seen in all the major museums and galleries. He is particularly well represented in the Imperial War Museum, which holds an important collection of his work as an official war artist – perhaps some of his finest paintings. They also have his war diaries.
Original drawings for Ardizzone’s children’s books and other illustrative work can be seen in Seven Stories, The Centre for the Children’s Book in Newcastle-upon-Tyne www.sevenstories.org.uk, and The Welsh National Centre for Children’s Literature in Aberystwyth www.llgc.org.uk .
The most useful account of Ardizzone’s life and work is by his brother-in-law, Gabriel White. It is currently out of print but can be found in libraries or second hand. An excellent insight into the way he worked can be found in Appendix I, page 259 of Brian Alderson’s comprehensive bibliography (see 'books' pages).
The Fattest Woman in the World - Poster 1956