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November. 15. 2019
What came first: caption or drawing?

When it comes to making people laugh, Mabel Lucie Attwell’s colourful illustrations of cute children with a cheeky message always met the brief. But how did the ideas tumble from her mind onto the page? Did she use a formula to ensure success whether postcard, book or comic strip? How would you approach the creative process – words or pictures first?

 An article in the Strand Magazine in 1936 settles the question:

‘I can’t start on a drawing until I’ve finally decided upon the title. In fact I never put pencil to paper until I have found a title that satisfies me. Sometimes I’ll have discarded twenty or thirty titles before I light upon the one that perfectly hits off the little notion I’m aiming at.’

Mabel in her studio, c1961
Mabel in her studio, c1961


Ever the perfectionist, we can picture Mabel at her desk crossing through caption after caption on her notepad until the right one took shape to inspire an illustration. We delved into the archive to share a few designs that made it all the way to production.


Collection of Mabel Lucie Attwell postcards

From left to right, the all important captions read:

Who ever 'lowed muvver to order twins?

Son Batheing

Don't know wot I wants – but I wants it so bad!

Although I'm working for a while, I finks of you and have a smile.

I takes a pretty good view of you! 

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October. 26. 2018
Get ready to change your clocks…

The clocks will be going back an hour on Sunday 28 October as British Summer Time (BST) moves to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Don’t be ‘alarmed’…be ready for an hour more in bed!

Mabel Lucie Attwell girl with alarm clock

Grab an extra hour of sleep this Sunday or relax in bed with a good book. If you need some inspiration, find a few illustrated by Mabel here  

Why do we change our clocks?

The idea of moving clocks forwards and backwards came to Britain from America. Benjamin Franklin, an American politician and inventor, first suggested it in 1784. He thought that if people got up earlier, when it was lighter, then it would save on candles.

Back in Britain, a leaflet called The Waste of Daylight was published, encouraging people to get out of bed earlier. In 1908, the government discussed making it law to change the clocks but this wasn’t popular. The change did happen in Mabel’s lifetime, finally coming into being in 1916, during World War I.

Now, clocks around Britain always go back by one hour on the last Sunday in October and forward by one hour on the last Sunday in March.   

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October. 05. 2018
It’s World Smile Day…

Mabel’s sayings make us smile everyday!

Digging around in the archives of Mabel Lucie Attwell treasures is always a happy treat – so to celebrate World Smile Day we thought we’d share a few of our favourites...

Mabel Lucie Attwell illustration of girl squirting water

It’s great to see these beautiful illustrations, full of fun, wit, and joy come out of the archives to ‘make people laugh’ – the thing Mabel loved to do most. We know from the many letters Mabel received during her lifetime, that her art meant so much to so many people. From inspiring everyone to calm down and carry on in the face of two World Wars or to take ‘the steam out of the family battleground’, Mabel’s work brought comfort and laughter to homes across the world and across generations. 

Mabel Lucie Attwell war time illustrationMabel Lucie Attwell Mr Smiler illustration and verse

World Smile Day began in 1999 when Harvey Ball, the artist behind the smiley face, declared that everyone should devote one day each year to smiles and kind acts. Ever since, people across the world celebrate with smiles and good deeds on the first Friday in October. We’d love to hear about yours @mabel_lucie

Mabel Lucie Attwell policeman stopping car illustration

Mabel Lucie Attwell everything's lovely and bright illustrationMabel Lucie Attwell sun-batheing illustration

Mabel Lucie Attwell something's gone bust seaside illustration

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Welcome to the official website of Mabel Lucie Attwell, one of Britain’s best-loved illustrators (1879 –1964).


In an exciting new venture, we are launching a new initiative, Mabel to uncover, rediscover and share her huge variety and diversity of illustrations: from beautiful pencil drawings for children’s classics from Peter Pan to Alice in Wonderland to World War One postcards, the cheeky Boo Boo fairies and many, many more. From postcards for the Royal Family to illustrations for national magazines and advertising for London Underground, Mabel Lucie Attwell's work was hugely popular during her lifetime and is still much loved around the world today.

Keep in touch to be the first to see what we find – as we grow our cards and gifts range alongside a regular blog of memories and stories about Mabel Lucie Attwell’s life and art.






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