BRIGGS, Raymond

(1934 - )

"Fast running seems to turn into flying quite naturally. Snowmen are made of snow which floats down from the sky, so going up again seems natural"

Having discovered an early interest, and aptitude, for illustrative art, Raymond Redvers Briggs went to study first at the Wimbledon School of Art and later at the prestigious Slade School of Fine Art.  He developed a passion for the art of the strip cartoon and much of his best-loved work is in this format. 

He started his working life illustrating other people’s work, which he often found frustrating as "They were so bad that I knew I could do better myself”.  In 1961 he wrote Midnight Adventure  and took it to an editor hoping for advice - instead it was published.  Early examples of the books both written and illustrated by him include Sledges to the Rescue, 1963, in which he uses his father's experiences as a milk man to bring the story to life.  His parents continued to be an inspiration for his work, his father being the model for the famously cantankerous and curmudgeonly eponymous figure in Father Christmas, which was also the first of his books to use a comic strip format to speed up the narrative and allow the pictures to tell the story. He took this idea even further in The Snowman when he dispatched with the text altogether. 

Briggs has always taken an unsentimental look at life, not necessarily depicting happy endings because "I create what seems natural and inevitable. The snowman melts, my parents died, animals die, flowers die. Everything does. There's nothing particularly gloomy about it. It's a fact of life.”  Many of his most loved creations are either grumpy or simply fed up with facing the indignities and difficulties of everyday life.  In an interview he explained "Fungus the Bogeyman is a working-class person going off to do his job every day. He is fed up with it and wondering what life is all about. What do we know about Father Christmas? He's old and fat and has a working-class sort of job a bit like my dad, who was a milkman. Because he's been doing it all his life and he gets cold, dirty and tired, it's perfectly logical that he would be fed up with it and so he is going to be grumpy."

Since 1961 Briggs has produced a substantial canon of work, has been the winner of numerous awards, including the Kate Greenaway Medal for Illustration twice, for Mother Goose Treasury 1966 and Father Christmas 1973, and has had many of his books adapted for stage and screen.  He remains one of the best loved and most successful picture-book creators of our time.

Please scroll down to see our current stock of Brigg's work, including first editions and signed copies.




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 Raymond BRIGGS

Books by this author

The Snowman

BRIGGS, Raymond