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Book illustration - The 'Witch's House
  • The 'Witch's House
    Tempest, Margaret Mary Lady Mears, born 1892 - died 1982
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The 'Witch's House

  • Object:

    Book illustration

  • Place of origin:

    Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1920 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Tempest, Margaret Mary Lady Mears, born 1892 - died 1982 (illustrator)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour on board

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the artist

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case EDUC, shelf 1

Margaret Tempest's children's book illustrations are characterised by subtle shades of watercolour as seen in this image of a witch's house. Tempest began her illustrating career in the 1920s and is best known as the creator of the children's book characters Little Grey Rabbit and Fuzzypeg the hedgehog. This long-running series of children's books, written by Alison Uttley and published beginning in 1929, are still being re-issued today. Margaret Tempest illustrated the first 30 of these, until 1970. The individual characterisation in her images made them household names. In fact artist and author often disagreed as to who could take the most credit for creating the characters. Tempest also wrote and illustrated 20 books of her own in the 1940s and 1950s, including the Pinky Mouse and Curley Cobbler series.

Physical description

Painting of a thatched cottage set in a garden with toadstools and a well, and situated in a pine forest and mountain landscape. The witch's cauldron stands on a fire to the left of the cottage. The cottage door has an eye-shaped window. An owl sits on the chimney and a spider's web hangs from a nearby pine tree.

Place of Origin

Britain (made)


ca. 1920 (made)


Tempest, Margaret Mary Lady Mears, born 1892 - died 1982 (illustrator)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour on board

Marks and inscriptions

1) Signature; bottom left of image; ink

THE WITCH'S HOUSE (in outline)
picture title; within frame of image, below image; pencil

Inscription; decoration; reverse; pencil


Height: 18.9 cm image, Width: 15.7 cm image, Height: 257 mm sheet, Width: 206 mm sheet

Descriptive line

Book illustration, 'The Witch's House', by Margaret Mary Tempest, in watercolour on paper, ca. 1920.

Labels and date

Display 'Into the Woods: Trees in Illustration'; Gallery 102; June 2017 to the end of January 2018

Margaret Mary Tempest (1892-1982)

The Witch's House

About 1920

Margaret Tempest is best known for her illustrations to Alison Uttley's 'Little Grey Rabbit' stories, but she also illustrated religious books and fairy tales. This is probably an illustration to one of Hans Christian Andersen's stories. The witch's house, with its frowning roof and the eye in the door, is nestled into a forest of fir trees.

Waterolour on board

Given by the artist

Museum no. E.101-1980 [2017]


Board; Watercolour



Subjects depicted

Owl; Cauldron; Mountains; Well; Forest; Cottage; Spider web


Illustration; Children & Childhood; Paintings


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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