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Born 1936 in Warsaw, Jan Pieńkowski arrived in England in 1946. He was educated at the Cardinal Vaughan School, London, and subsequently at King’s College, Cambridge. Jan is author-illustrator of over 100 children's books and twice winner of the Library Association Kate Greenaway Medal.
His theatre work includes designs for the Arts Theatre Cambridge, the Almeida Theatre London, Disneyland Paris, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and, recently, the Kremlin Palace Theatre Moscow.
He has travelled widely in Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Far East and Australia, often to work with publishers, research new books or to see his books being printed. He carries a sketchbook everywhere he goes and has filled about 250 of them. He uses his sketches, many examples of which can be seen in this exhibition, as groundwork for new publications.
Jan works at home in his attic studio overlooking the River Thames. He hears the rain - and sometimes hail - on the skylights and from the windows he watches the blue sails of the dinghies racing up and down the river.
Jan has recently illustrated an anthology of Commonwealth tales, which he has presented to Her Majesty the Queen.