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Drawing book
  • Drawing book
    Millbank, Donald, born 1927 - died 1940
  • Enlarge image

Drawing book

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    late 1930s (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Millbank, Donald, born 1927 - died 1940 (artist)
    Philip & Tacey (manufacturer)
    Philip & Tacey (supplier)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Stapled paper book containing hand drawn images in pencil and watercolour

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Christine Adams

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This drawing book is part of a collection of objects that belonged to Donald Millbank, who tragically died at a young age. Donald was born in 1927 and grew up in Merton; he was killed during the Second World War in 1940 when a bomb made a direct hit on his house. Donald was remembered by his family as a bright, kind, funny boy who was artistically talented. His accomplished drawing skills are evident from these detailed pictures, which he drew in the late 1930s, and the illustrations and drawings in his school books from the same period.

Along with several of Donald's school exercise books from the late 1930s, the collection includes a birthday card Donald made for his father, some of his colourful drawings and the nightgown he wore as a baby, as well as three memorial cards made for Donald following his death. These provide a snapshot of a young boy's life and work from a turbulent time in British history and they are a rare survival.

Physical description

Stapled paper drawing book with brown cover and unlined pages. The front cover is printed with the text: 'Colonial Drawing Book.' and the image of a ship and a sun; the name 'Donald' is written in pencil on the front. There is a blue ink stain across the width of the cover. The exercise book contains three drawings in pencil and watercolour, one on each of the first three pages. The first painting is abstract, the second depicts a stocking filled with toys and the third shows Father Christmas holding a sack.

Place of Origin

England (made)


late 1930s (made)


Millbank, Donald, born 1927 - died 1940 (artist)
Philip & Tacey (manufacturer)
Philip & Tacey (supplier)

Materials and Techniques

Stapled paper book containing hand drawn images in pencil and watercolour

Marks and inscriptions

Colonial Drawing Book. / School: / .............. / Name: ............ / PHILIP & TACEY, LTD., LONDON, S.W.6.
Printed in black ink on front cover

Handwritten in pencil on front cover


Length: 27.5 cm, Width: 18.4 cm book closed, Width: 35 cm book open

Object history note

The following was written by Christine Adams, Donald's niece and donor of his childhood objects:

Donald Gerald Balfour Millbank

Donald was born in Surrey in 1927. His father, Fred, was an officer for the Port of London Authority and his mother, Lou, stayed at home to look after her family. He had an older brother and sister, Alan and Mildred (Millie - known as 'Weenie' by the family as she was a particularly tiny baby.) Another younger brother died at a few months old.

On 18 November 1940, when Donald was 13, he was killed by a bomb dropped directly on the house. His sister Weenie, a few years older, was buried under the house with him for several hours, holding his hand. She felt him grow weaker as he gradually passed away. His mother never recovered from losing two children and was in mourning for the rest of her life, only wearing black.

Donald grew up in the years before the Second World War, in what was then the village of Mitcham, in a family house with a rabbit, cat and dog. His family remember a bright, kind, funny boy, artistically talented as can be seen by a selection of [his] drawings.

His brother Alan became a teacher and Weenie a nurse - both were excellent painters. As for so many children on both sides of the War, Donald was denied his life but his potential was clear as can be seen here.

Descriptive line

Printed paper drawing book belonging to Donald Millbank made in England by Philip & Tacey Ltd in the late 1930s


Paper; Metal; Ink; Pencil; Watercolour


Stapled; Watercolour drawing; Printed


Children & Childhood; Education & Learning; Drawings; Christmas; Made by children

Production Type

Mass produced


Museum of Childhood

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