What a Find! Vintage Illustrations

6th October 2021

I shared these pictures on our Pickle Instagram at the beginning of week and with such a positive response I thought I might share them here too! My mum found an old sketch book of my Nan’s, filled with beautiful fashion illustrations drawn, coloured and dreamt by her in the 1950s I would say. Such a wonderful find! My Nan (who we called Jonanna) was quite a special lady. Joan Sanders was a Londoner through and through, wonderfully glamorous I remember her in stilettos with her auburn hair pinned just so. We are quite a creative family, from both sides, and my Nan was known for her skills as a seamstress and a designer. She made outfits for me and my siblings, I recall my bespoke summer school uniform that I was so proud to wear. A red gingham twin set, pleated skirt and waist coat with a matching handbag complete with appliqué butterfly! I was the best turned out 7 year old that’s for sure.

Nan also ran a ‘teddy hospital’, people would send her their wounded cuddly toys and she would mend them. She made lovely pipe cleaner dolls with hand painted faces that my sister and I adored. One of the drawings I think might be her wedding dress. I know she had to make it out of yellow fabric as there was a shortage of white from the war. The photos we have of them both look resplendent, hand-tinted by Nanny. She coloured photos for people as well, I always thought they looked so real.

1050s clothing designs discovered

Nanny had a business selling luxury caravans, some for minor stars. She really wanted to start a fashion business with her sister Dot but couldn’t quite get it off the ground, it has been lovely to see some of her designs.

Whenever she wrote letters to us it was full of funny stories about the Spaniels and their exploits, complete with little illustrations. Such a talented lady, and a real joy to share some of her illustrations with you today.

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