Saturday, 21 January 2017

Long Live Princess Smartypants - Babette Cole

Babette Cole: 10 September 1950  - 14 January 2017
We were deeply saddened and shocked to hear the very sad news of Babette Cole's passing earlier this week.  We have not only lost one of our dearest artists, but more so a good and true friend.  She will be sorely missed by the illustration and publishing community alike.

Babette chats with Jan Pienkowski in 2005
In tribute to Babette, we fondly remember some of the times that we all spent in the IllustrationCupboard Gallery (mostly in floods of laughter as Babette had the most infectious giggle):

Babette and John Huddy celebrating Princess Smartypants' birthday in The IllustrationCupboard

Babette was always the life and soul of the party, throwing her energy into her artwork and giving time to the many fans of her 150+ picture books.

Babette signing books as part of our Winter Exhibition in 2010
She would always dress to impress - here seen with Sarah McIntyre and IllustrationCupboard staff all in obligatory bunny ears, for the launch of James and the Giggleberries in 2014.

Full of love and laughter, her humerous and irreverent illustrations brought a smile to readers old and young.

Valentine's Day, the Babette Cole way
Loving life in the IllustrationCupboard on Valentine's Day
Her books helped parents broach difficult subjects with humour, and challenged the status quo: a Princess who didn't like boys, and books about death, childbirth and growing up.

Babette as Princess Smartypants in September 2016

It was only in September 2016 that she was in the gallery, full of life and launching her most recent book Princess Smartypants and the Missing Princes, and celebrating 30 years of Princess Smartypants, with a fabulous cake made by Elizabeth Miles Cake Design, Dorset.

And this is how we shall remember her: for us, she will always be a Princess.  The world will be a duller place without her.  Long live Princess Smartypants.