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Pauline Baynes Papers

Identifier: Brit-Mss-Baynes

Scope and Contents

The Chapin Library administers an important collection of paintings, drawings, and other materials by the distinguished British illustrator Pauline Diana Baynes (1922–2008). Although Pauline Baynes sold or gave away most of her original art for Lewis and Tolkien, hundreds of her illustrations for those and other authors survive in her archive, as well as printed versions in books and magazines, late “visionary” paintings, and unpublished work such as designs for Aesop’s fables and the Koran. All of these are in process of being cataloged.

The Pauline Baynes archive offers varied opportunities for research and instruction. Prospective illustrators, for example, may examine original works in gouache, pen and ink, and other media, as well as some of the artist’s tools and materials, for close study of her techniques. These same works also may be compared with their published versions, to see how printing processes can change the quality and dynamics of illustrations. Classics students may be interested in Baynes’s interpretations of Greek and Roman mythology, students of Botany and Biology in her precise drawings of plants and animals, history students in her renderings of subjects from the Middle Ages and Renaissance.


  • 1953-2008

Conditions Governing Access

The Pauline Baynes papers are open for research. Researchers are encouraged to contact Special Collections staff prior to a visit.

Conditions Governing Use

In consultation with Special Collections staff, reproductions may be made upon request. Please consult with staff regarding questions about publishing materials from Williams Special Collections. Material in this collection is subject to copyright.

Baynes, Pauline (1922-2008)

Pauline Baynes began her career in 1942 with illustrations for the “Perry Colour Books” for children. Before long, she was producing art for major London publishers. Over more than sixty years, she made thousands of drawings, most famously for works by C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. At the peak of her career she was in constant demand by publishers as an illustrator and designer, acclaimed for her fidelity to an author’s text, for her delicacy of line, and for a superb sense of color. She was most often hired to illustrate stories with an element of fantasy, such as Andersen’s fairy tales and the Arabian Nights, and books with religious themes. But Baynes also contributed to history and geography books, nature books, and cookbooks. She was able to work in a wide range of styles, and could evoke a medieval illuminated manuscript as easily as Persian miniatures, Greek vase paintings, or realistic plants and animals. But Baynes was especially known for the historical accuracy she brought to books such as A Dictionary of Chivalry by Grant Uden (1968), which won her the esteemed Kate Greenaway Medal, and A Companion to World Mythology by Richard Barber (1979).


circa 100 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Physical Location

L2 Storage. Some larger items are stored at LSF.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bequeathed by Pauline Baynes to the Williams College Oxford Programme with the wish that it be placed in the care of the Chapin Library for use in the education of Williams students.

Separated Materials

Williams has also received some 2,000 volumes comprising Baynes’s working reference library and books illustrated by artists that inspired her, such as Edmund Dulac, Arthur Rackham, and Rex Whistler. Books from the Baynes library are being cataloged and have call numbers beginning 'Baynes.'

Processing Information

In process collection: please contact Chapin Library staff for a detailed list of contents.
Pauline Baynes papers
Peale, Anne
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Chapin Library Repository

26 Hopkins Hall Drive
Williamstown Massachusetts 01267