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Journal - My Journal
  • My Journal
    Brill, Jean Elisabeth, born 1937 - died 2015
  • Enlarge image

My Journal

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Leeds (probably, written)

  • Date:

    1947-1948 (written)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Brill, Jean Elisabeth, born 1937 - died 2015 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Paper, graphite, ink, photography

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Anne Phillips

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Jean Brill was born in Leeds to middle-class parents, this is her autobiograhy which she wrote in about 1948. She describes her life from the day of her birth, 24th June 1937, up to her eleventh birthday party. This journal provides insight into the life, interests and anxieties of a girl growing up during and after the Second World War. Her account of the eleven-plus exam she took in order to enter Lawnswood High School is particularly moving.

Physical description

Exercise book, cream paper cover enclosing lined pages, the cover is has a decorated border of ovoids and dots executed in coloured graphite. Inside is written by hand an autobiographical account of Jean Brill's life, ending with her eleventh birthday. The text is annotated in several places with photographs of Jean and her family, which have been glued in. Towards the end of the account, there is a single illustration of a bus executed in graphite. The second half of the book is unused.

Place of Origin

Leeds (probably, written)


1947-1948 (written)


Brill, Jean Elisabeth, born 1937 - died 2015 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Paper, graphite, ink, photography


Length: 20.2 cm, Width: 16.3 cm

Object history note

Written and illustrated by Jean Elisabeth Brill (1937-2015) in about 1948. Given to the V&A in 2016 by her school friend, Anne Phillips [2016/946].

Historical context note

Jean Elisabeth Brill was born on 24th June 1937, in Leeds, Yorkshire. Her parents were Percy Francis Edward ‘Phil’ Brill (1896-1967), a civil servant, and Winifred Mary Brill née Hewlitt (1900-1969). As a child, Jean enjoyed reading, writing and swimming. Influenced by contemporary film and literature, she produced several manuscript stories with illustrations. She also wrote journals, producing an autobiographical work and a day-by-day account of her holidays in consecutive years. Jean attended a private school in Headingley, Leeds (which she called “Miss Davies’s School in her work) and then grammar school at Lawnswood High School. Jean did not marry, she spent her career working as a primary school teacher. Jean Brill died in June 2015.

Descriptive line

Exercise book, 'My Journal', handwritten by Jean Elisabeth Brill and containing drawings and photographs, about 1948


Paper (fiber product); Graphite; Ink


Handwriting; Illustration; Photography

Subjects depicted



Children & Childhood; Writing; Dolls & Toys; Books; Made by children

Production Type



Museum of Childhood

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