I first saw Emily Sutton’s work in a bookshop in Whitby about seven years ago. Immediately captivated by her magical world, her imagination and sensibility struck a chord with my own love of curiosities. It was a scene of circus dogs, each with Victorian ruffs and so much character I wanted to jump in and hear their full story: a rare draw for only one image. I have since grown close to Emily and can say that her world is every bit as inviting as those small dogs hinted, full of warmth and eccentricities. Her glorious Victorian house in the centre of York is a reflection of who she is, a modern day curiosity herself; she is propelled from the pages of a 20th century kid’s book. Whether pacing the muddied fields with her terrier Sylvie or embroidering in extreme detail, her hands are permanently stained with ink and working on something, compelled to draw and evoke her surroundings in such minute detail.
Raised in the iconic North Yorkshire countryside, Emily Sutton has become a true icon of modern day illustration. Garnering huge clients across the publishing and art world including the V&A, The Telegraph, Bloomsbury, Walker Books, Faber and Faber and Random House Emily is fast becoming a household name.
Starting her artistic career at the reputable Edinburgh College of Art, Emily’s childhood obsessions were soon brought to life; it was here that her vast and detailed world of curiosities, Victoriana and rosy-cheeked children were born. Going on to Rhode Island School of Design and working on a piece for The Edward Gorey House, Emily’s own style was fast becoming a recognisable asset.
Her exploration of folk art and a compelling aesthetic detail were a perfect match for books. She caught the eye of and collaborated with literary icon Michael Bond (Paddington), illustrated a series of V&A-commissioned books, and enjoyed a close collaboration with Nicola Davis, from which one of their books LOTS has gone on to win a multitude of awards. Emily has worked with a vast amount of authors and can boast illustrating the works of Evelyn Waugh, Jane Austen, Julian Fellowes, Jesse Burton and Kate Morton, among many many more.
Aside from her evocative animation of other people’s characters, Emily is bringing out her own book next year with Walker Books.
Emily has also designed for iconic labels, creating packaging for the likes of Betty’s and following in Edward Bawden’s steps with work for Fortnum and Mason, it is likely there is something in your home she has created without you even realising.
Like one of William Morris’ Craft movement, Emily is a true practitioner too and has worked in many different formats with St Jude’s and Penfold Press, where her textiles, lithographs and prints are all available. Her solo show at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 2014 was a real nod to her creative life. Town and Country was a trip with Emily, a trip to the South of France, to Italy and around her oft-trodden Yorkshire.
Every year in Emily’s career has offered a glimpse into this fascinating mind, through her books, exhibitions and design work she has been recognized as one of Tatler Magazine’s “Next great artists of the future”. Her story, if a book, is only just beginning.
Explore Emily’s website by clicking below.Emily Sutton Website