Ronald Ferns (14 October 1925 – 2 December 1997)
English illustrator, designer, cartoonist and surrealist painter in oil and watercolour, he attended St Martin’s School of Art, London . His first major official commission was a vast mural for the 1951 Festival of Britain. In the same year, he was also commissioned to create costume and set designs for the premiere of Fate’s Revenge by the Ballet Rambert.
Throughout the 1950s, he contributed witty line illustrations, decorations and cartoons to many of the leading periodicals including Lilliput, for which he also painted several striking covers in colour. He also illustrated a series of full-colour booklets for Guinness advertising campaigns. Other important advertising work included elegant watercolour covers for Fortnum & Mason catalogues.
In the early 1960s, he moved to St Ives in Cornwall, so he could diversify from “commercial art” into painting , developing his noted series of surreal paintings in oil. He moved back to London in the 1970s,when he was increasingly drawn to book illustration and began writing children’s stories as well as illustrating them. His first book as both writer and artist, Osbert And Lucy (1988), was successful not only in Britain but also in the USA, and was translated into several European languages. His second book, Bumpity And the Big Snake, was published in 1994.