Jill Bennett was the very first illustrator to work on Roald Dahl's British publications of "Fantastic Mr Fox" and "Danny The Champion of the World" in the 1970's. Her original artwork from these books was recently snapped up by a museum and collector before they made it to the website, but we've managed to make some limited edition prints of our favourite illustrations.
Jill Bennett was born in Johannesburg 1934. Left South Africa as a baby and spent the years from age 4 to 11 in Jamaica. Came to England after the end of the Second World War and finished schooling at Claremont School, Esher, Surrey.
Studied at Wimbledon school of Art for four years and specialised in Theatre Design. Was awarded the National Diploma of Design (NDD) and went on to a post graduate year at the Slade School of Fine Art.
Jill combined her two great loves by taking up book illustration at the same time as running a theatre evening class for the ILEA. She formed The Theatre Arts Group and was responsible for the performances, settings and costumes and showed the plays at The Curtain Theatre, Whitechapel, London E1.
In the early 70s Kaye Webb, the founder of Puffin Books, commissioned Jill to do the pictures and cover for Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox and later his Danny Champion of the World. This began a lengthy career with many books and many excellent writers. Dick King-Smith, Joan Aitkin and Helen Cresswell were among them.
In the 1980’s Jill combined writing with the making of miniature dolls (which are recognised worldwide) and set up a partnership with the sculptor, Sukey Erland. Jill also took to writing and has three ‘Who dunnits’ for young teenagers plus some short stories to her name.
Seven Stories, Britain’s gallery and archive that celebrates the world of children’s books, exhibited some of Jill’s pictures in their opening exhibition in 2005 and again in the There’s Nuffin Like a Puffin! Exhibition during the summer of 2011.
Jill lives in Bath with her husband Rodney and has two grown up children and four grandchildren.