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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ken Woodward (1928-2008)

Artist, illustrater and teacher, Kenneth James "Woody" Woodford, has died at the age of 79.

Born in Liverpool, the son of a police officer, Woodward was raised in Merseyside and, at 14, enrolled at Liverpool School of Art for six years where he met lifelong friend Josh Kirby and his future wife, Margaret "Brick" Brickell. The two married in 1949 and moved to London where, after working for theatrical director and interior designer Theodore Komisarjevsky devising cinema colour schemes, at the age of 25 he found himself drawing Disney film tie-in books and, in 1956, became studio manager at Walt Disney Merchandise Studio in Soho.

In 1963 he became design director of WorldWide Animation, based in Clapham, which made animated and live action documentary films. Leaving in the late 1960s, he began freelancing, often working in collaboration with his wife. His work was published by Collins, Hamlyn and Purnell. He wrote and illustrated a variety of educational books for young children and illustrated a number of books based around Gordon Murray's TV shows, Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley.

An obituary penned by his son, Jonathan (Guardian, 30 April), reveals that "His own non-commercial work consisted of surrealist-style paintings, many inspired by puns and nostalgia, for example an enormous apple floating over an Edwardian scene in his Homage to Apollinaire."

After an amicable separation from his wife, Woodward began teaching at secondary schools in south-east London; in 1979 he met fellow teacher Sandra Burrows who was to be his companion for three decades.

After retiring at 65, he signed up for an MA course in printmaking at Camberwell College of Art. "His assemblages made him an avid collector of bric-a-brac and, in recent years, his house came to resemble a gigantic boxed assemblage, which was perhaps his intention," says his son. "In his final months, he was obliged to paint in the only space available—the loft. He produced a prodigious series of brightly coloured, cheerful and exuberant abstracts, an apt finale to a lifetime of artistic exploration and endevour."

At 6ft 4in, Woodward was an imposing figure with a snow white beard and pony tail. In 1996, he appeared as an angel in posters for Body Shop and played Robert Dadd in a short biography of the artist and murderer Richard Dadd directed by Andrew Pulver.

Books
Collins Picture Alphabet and ABC Crossword. London & Glasgow, Collins, 1966.
Alphabet Fun. London, Collins (Pixie), 1967.
The Magic Merry-Go-Round. London, Collins (Pixie), 1967.
My Word Book. London, Collins, 1968.
My Tell the Time Picture Book. London, Dean, 1973.
Ken Woodward's ABC Parade. Maidenhead, Purnell, 1974.
Telling the Time: The King's Clocks. Bristol, Purnell, 1976.

Illustrated
Windy Miller's Birthday. A 'Camberwick Green' story, retold by Deirdre Dillon. London, Hamlyn, 1966.
Gordon Murray's Trumpton Annual by Muriel Gray. London, Purnell, 1967-1969.
Mrs. Cobbit and the Ice Cream Man. A 'Trumpton' story, retold by Deirdre Dillon. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1967.
Nick Fisher the Bill Poster. A 'Trumpton' story, retold by Deirdre Dillon. London, Hamlyn, 1967.
The Mayor's Birthday Present. A 'Trumpton' story, retold by Deirdre Dillon. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1968.
Mr. Crockett's Mistake. A 'Camberwick Green' story, retold by Deirdre Dillon. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1968.
Mr. Platt and the Painter. A 'Trumpton' story, retold by Deirdre Dillon. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1968.
P.C. McGarry and the Bees. A 'Camberwick Green' story, retold by Deirdre Dillon. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1968.
Private Meek and the Baby. A 'Camberwick Green' story, retold by Deirdre Dillon. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1968.
Ring Up the Fire Brigade! A 'Trumpton' story, retold by Jane Carruth. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1968.
Trouble in the Mayor's Parlour. A 'Trumpton' story, retold by Jane Carruth. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1968.
Trumpton Story Book, by Moira Maclean & Deirdre Dillon. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1968.
Bessie to the Rescue. A 'Chigley' story, retold by Jane Carruth. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1969.
Captain Snort's Surprise (as Woody & Brick Ink) (Camberwick Green). London, Purnell, 1970.
Chimney Sweep Luck. A 'Camberwick Green' story, retold by Deirdre Dillon. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1970.
Cuthbert's Missing Auntie. A 'Trumpton' story, retold by Jane Carruth. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1970.
Paddy Murphy's Saturday Morning. A 'Camberwick Green' story, retold by Deirdre Dillon. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1970.
The Vanishing Ladder. A 'Trumpton' story, retold by Jane Carruth. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1970.
Up Goes the Balloon. A 'Chigley' story, retold by Jane Carruth. Feltham, Hamlyn, 1971.

(* As far as I can tell, none of Ken Woodward's books are in print, but quite a few of them are available second-hand.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have some of his pastel drawings from 1980. Do you know of anyone who would be interested in buying them?