BB (Denys Watkins-Pitchford)
The writer and artist, BB (Denys Watkins-Pitchford) was born on 25 July 1905 in the village of Lamport, deep in the Northamptonshire countryside.
The second son (one of twins) of the local rector, he spent much of his boyhood exploring the countryside around his home, Lamport Rectory, a spacious Queen Anne period house. At an early age he developed a deep love for the countryside and a talent for drawing and painting.
At the age of 15 he went to Northampton School of Art where he won a scholarship to study in Paris, returning to London to complete his studies at the Royal College of Art. After leaving Art School, he obtained a position as assistant art master at Rugby School where he was to remain for 17 years.
During this time he was contributing regularly for the Shooting Times magazine and also writing his first full-length story, Wild Lone, the story of a one-eared Pytchley fox called Rufus. Wild Lone was to become a classic of its kind and bears comparison with Henry Williamson's award-winning Tarka the Otter
Denys Watkins-Pitchford's books have been written under the pen name 'BB', although the illustrations have always been signed with his real name, giving the impression that the author and illustrator are different people.
He decided that his proper name was too long and unwieldy, and that BB (the size of lead shot used for goose shooting) was instantly recognizable and gave his work an air of mystery.
He wrote and illustrated over 60 titles of which some 20 are children's stories - the two most well-known being Brendon Chase and The Little Grey Men, the latter winning the Carnegie Medal in 1942. In addition, he illustrated over 30 books by other authors with his distinctive black and white illustrations and color plates.
His genius and contribution to literature was officially recognized in 1989 when he was awarded the MBE. He died in 1990 at the age of 85.
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