Friday, June 15, 2007

Elizabeth Skottowe

Elizabeth Skottowe was a regular contributor to Robin Annual, writing and illustrating stories in annuals 2-5 (1954-57).

Elizabeth Skottowe was born in 1912, the eldest child of Arthur Bellinger Skottowe (1868-1925) and his wife Winnifred (nee Hack) (1879- ). She was the great-grand-daughter of John Barton Hack. Her brother Nicholas was born in 1915 and died in 1939. Elizabeth lived in Shanghai as a small child as her father worked for the East India Company and may have been born in China as it has proved impossible to find a birth certificate for her in Australia.

Elizabeth Skottowe was an Aussie and attended the Adelaide School of Design (later known as the SA School of Arts and Crafts) in the late 1920s and, in the 1930s, was among the enrolling members of the Girls' Central Art School in Adelaide. She was the sub-editor of the Forerunner, an art periodical which ran from 1930-38.

In about 1934, Skottowe came to England to further her study of art. She had a series of children's stories published in the Advertiser's Saturday Magazine and, in 1936, returning to Australia, won second prize in The Advertiser's Centernary Novel competition with Family Coach, which was inspired by stories she had been told in her youth by her grandmother, Mrs. Charles Hack.

In the late 1930s she had an exhibition of her work which included a number of illustrations to accompany the writings of Noel Coward.

At the beginning of World War II, Skottowe left again for England to study at the Central School of Art in London, returning briefly to South Australia in 1947 but then moving permanently to live in England. In 1947 she drew a poster for Southern Railway.

She contributed 'Timothy Rabbit Adopts a Baby' to TV Comic Annual 1958 (also appearing in the 1954 and 1956 volumes and perhaps others) and a story, 'Koala Baby' to Top Top Jack and Jill My Playtime Book (n.d., probably 1950s).

Skottowe married Charles Hobson, possibly in the 1950s; in the alphabetical listing of contributors in Robin Annual for 1957 she is listed amongst the authors whose surnames began with the letter 'H'. This wasn't uncommon -- in the same volume Jessica Dunning was listed under 'M' (her married name was Morris).

Skottowe died in 1970.

Me an' Tim an' Caroline. Adelaide, (printed by Reliance Printery), 1932?
The Dormouse Book. London, Hampster Books (Early Reader 39), 1950.
Millicent Mouse Makes a Christmas Pudding. London, News of the World (Betterbook for Children), 1952.
Timothy Rabbit Builds a House. London, News of the World (Betterbook for Children), 1952.

Illustrated Books
My Own Storybook by Enid Blyton. The Sunshine Series, n.d.
More Stories to Read Aloud. London, Spring Books, 1961?
Dilly's Picnic Party. London, Young World Productions, 1968?

(* With thanks to Anne Chittleborough of Flinders University, Adelaide, for information on Elizabeth Skottowe's career in Australia.)

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