Raymond Briggs: Snowman author and illustrator dies aged 88
His family said in a statement through its publisher Penguin Random House that Briggs died Tuesday morning.
What did Raymond Briggs write?
Although best known for The Snowman, which has since sold over 5.5 million copies worldwide, Briggs also created the beloved children’s books Father Christmas, Fungus the Bogeyman and When the Wind Blows. .
An animated version of The Snowman made for Channel 4 in 1982 became a holiday staple and has aired every Christmas since.
Born in Wimbledon in 1934, Briggs studied at the Wimbledon School of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art before briefly pursuing painting.
After becoming a professional illustrator, he worked and taught illustration at Brighton College of Art.
In 1966, he won the Kate Greenaway Medal for his work illustrating a nursery rhyme book, The Mother Goose Treasury.
His best-known works were published between 1973 and 1984 and also included Father Christmas Goes On Holiday and The Tin-Pot Foreign General And The Old Iron Woman.
It has won numerous awards throughout its career, including the Kurt Maschler Award, Children’s Book of the Year, Dutch Silver Pen Award.
In February 2017, Raymond received the BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award and the trust responded to news of his death by tweeting, “He will live on in his stunning and iconic books.
He was appointed CBE for services to literature the same year.
What is When the Wind Blows?
The comic shows a nuclear attack on the UK from the perspective of a retired couple, Jim and Hilda Bloggs.
It was adapted into a popular animated film of the same name featuring the voices of John Mills and Peggy Ashcroft.
What did the Raymond Briggs family say?
His family said: “We know Raymond’s books have been loved and touched by millions of people around the world who will be saddened to hear this news.
“Fan drawings – especially children’s drawings – inspired by his books were treasured by Raymond and pinned to his studio wall.
“He lived a rich and full life, and said he felt lucky to have had both his wife Jean and his partner of over 40 years Liz in his life.
“He shared his love of nature with Liz on walks in the South Downs and on family holidays in Scotland and Wales. He also shared his sense of fun and madness with his family and with his family of artist friends – at get-togethers, costume parties and summer picnics in the garden.
“He played practical jokes and liked to be joked about. All of us close to him knew his irreverent humor – it could be biting in his work when it came to those in power.
“He loved the Guardian editorial describing himself as an ‘iconoclastic national treasure’.”
Briggs is survived by her stepdaughter Clare and her husband Fynn; his stepson Tom and his wife Sarah, and his three step-grandchildren.
Tributes to Snowman Author Raymond Briggs
Francesca Dow, Managing Director of Penguin Random House Children’s, said: “Raymond’s books are illustrated masterpieces that address some of the fundamental questions of what it is to be human, aimed at adults. and to children with a remarkable economy of words and illustrations.
“Raymond is probably best known for The Snowman. He perhaps needed more freedom than the standard 32-page picture book format allowed and created a radical and beautiful innovation: a wordless picture book for children, a stills storyboard that became an instant classic in its own right, as well as the most I loved animations.
Ms Dow said Briggs had been “unique” and had “inspired generations of picture book, graphic novel and animation creators”.
She added: “He leaves an extraordinary legacy and a big hole.”
Briggs’ literary agent, Hilary Delamere, added: “Raymond loved playing the grumpy professional, but he will be remembered for his stories of love and loss.
“From the many letters he received, I know how much his books and animations have touched people’s hearts.”
TV gardener Monty Don tweeted“Thank you Raymond Briggs for a lifetime’s work beautifully celebrating the rich vein of very English pessimism. You have enriched so many of our lives.
“Rest in peace. And thank you for the memories.
In response to Raymond Briggs’ death, Cressida Cowell, author of How To Train Your Dragon and former Children’s Winner, tweeted: “Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Raymond Briggs.
“What a wonderful legacy he leaves, from his iconic Santa Claus and the Snowman to the terrifying Where The Wind Blows. His books have brought so much joy and inspired so much touching, hilarious and heartbreaking work. TO TEAR APART.”
He tweeted: “Raymond Briggs… RIP xxxx.
“You are fantastic…”
British author Lara Maiklem called Raymond Briggs a “genius” after his death at the age of 88.
Maiklem, who has worked with Briggs, tweeted alongside a photo of his Fungus the Bogeyman illustration: “So sad to hear about Raymond Briggs this morning.
“A big fan since my childhood, I had the great chance to work with him a few years ago.
“Grumpy and difficult, he was nonetheless a genius.
“Nothing is permanent but misfortune.”
Where did Raymond Briggs live?
From the window, the author and illustrator had a view of a 26-mile landscape across the Sussex Weald.