1973 Ballet Shoes for Anna

Noel Streatfield, Ballet Shoes for Anna, Collins, 1973

Mary Dinsdale was born Mary Debnam in Guildford, Surrey, in the first quarter of 1920. Her mother's maiden name was Smith. She studied at Guildford School of Art from 1936 to 1939, and did wartime service as an engineering draughtsman. She married James Albert Dinsdale in Brentford, Middlesex, in the second quarter of 1945. They had a son, Andrew, born in Hastings in 1961.

She began illustrating for magazines after the war, contributing to Lilliput, Strand, Punch and the Radio Times, and also worked in advertising. She was illustrating books by 1953, when Nina Warner Hooke's Home is Where You Make it was published. She illustrated numerous children's books in the 1950s, '60s and '70s, her most famous book probably being Noel Streatfield's Ballet Shoes for Anna in 1973. From 1980 she concentrated on painting, mainly in gouache. She showed widely in the south of England, and was a member of Hastings Arts and the Rye Society of Artists (she was still listed as a member on their website in 2011). She continued to do occasional illustration jobs, her most recent being an edition of W. B. Yeats' The Poet's Love of Women for Pickpocket Books in 1990.

Books illustratedEdit

  • Honor Arundel, The High House, Piccolo, 1972
  • Jean Bathwayt, Brownie Discoverers, Hodder & Stoughton, 1977
  • Jenny Butterworth, The Cat Came Back, Kaye and Ward, 1978
  • Jane Carruth, Ruby Fairy Tales, Rand McNally & Co, 1978 (illus. w/ Donald Harley, Gwen Tourret, Shirley Tourret, Gerry Embleton)
  • Richard Church, The Cave, Piccolo, 1974
  • Mary Cockett, Strange Valley, Oliver & Boyd, 1967
    • -- The Wedding Tea, Macmillan, 1970
    • -- The Marvellous Stick, Macmillan, 1972
    • -- The Lost Money, Macmillan, 1973
    • -- The Balloon That Brought Luck, Kaye and Ward, 1978
  • Ellen Conford, Felicia the Critic, Hamish Hamilton, 1975
  • Lettice Cooper, Bob-a-Job, Brockhampton Press, 1963
  • Marjorie Darke, Kipper's Turn, Lions, 1980
  • Meindert De Jong, The Easter Cat, Lutterworth, 1972
  • Nance Donkin, Patchwork Grandmother, Hamish Hamilton, 1975
    • -- Patchwork Mystery, Beaver Books, 1982
  • Eileen Dunlop, Fox Farm, OUP, 1978
  • Julie Edwards, Mandy, Lions, 1971
  • James R Elliott, Living in Hospital: The Social Needs of People in Long Term Care, King Edwards Hospital Fund for London, 1982
  • Kathleen Fidler, Turk the Border Collie, Lutterworth, 1975
  • Robert Gould, A Touch of Practical Magic, Longman, 1973
  • J R Hicks, M Mukherjee, S K Ghosh, The Framework of the Indian Economy: An Introduction to Economics, OUP India, 1985
  • Nina Warner Hooke, Home is Where you Make it, The Country Book Club, 1953
  • Geraldine Kaye, Joanna All Alone, David Charles, 1974
  • Geoffrey Kilner, Jet, a Gift to the Family, Puffin, 1979
  • Anne Knowles, Flag, Blackie, 1976
  • Elinor Lyon, Echo Valley, Brockhampton, 1965
    • -- The Dream Hunters, Brockhamnpton Press, 1966
    • -- Strangers at the Door, Brockhamptpn, 1967
    • -- Wind überm Hochland, Boje, Stuttgart, 1969
    • -- The Wishing Pool, Brockhampton Press, 1974
  • Iris MacFarlane, The Summer of the Lame Seagull, Chatto & Windus, 1970
  • Alistair Maclean, The Satan Bug, Heron Books, 1973
  • Margaret Mahy, The Pirate Uncle, Dent, 1978
  • William Mayne, Robin's Real Engine and Other Stories, Hamish Hamilton, 1972 (illus. w/ Marjorie Gill and Shirley Hughes)
  • Brigitte Lecoeur, Contes de Grimm, Nathan, 1976
  • Malcolm Neville, Meet the Sandman, Blackie, 1973
    • -- The Sandmen in Danger, Blackie, 1974
  • Nesta Nutall, Those Pinewood Children, Oliver & Boyd, 1966
  • Joan Phipson, Hide Till Daytime, Hamish Hamilton, 1977
  • Pamela Rogers, The Hat Shop, Hamish Hamilton, 1974
    • -- Sometimes Stumps, Hamish Hamilton, 1975
  • Noel Streatfield, Ballet Shoes for Anna, Collins, 1973
  • Showell Styles, Red for Adventure, Brockhampton, 1965
    • -- Cubs of the Castle, Brockhampton Press, 1969
    • -- Cubs on the Job, Brockhampton, 1972
  • Joan Tate, Ben and Annie, Brockhampton Press, 1973
  • Jill Paton Walsh, The Dawnstone, Hamish Hamilton, 1973
  • Constance M White, Cousins at Greycroft, Hutchinson, 1959
  • W. B. Yeats, The Poet's Love of Women, Pickpocket Books, 1990


  • John Ryder, Artists of a Certain Line: A Selection of Illustrators for Children's Books, The Bodley Head, 1960, p. 59
  • R. D. Usherwood, Drawing for Radio Times, The Bodley Head, 1961, pp. 31-32
  • Martin Baker, Artists of Radio Times: A Golden Age of British Illustration, The Ashmolean, 2002, p. 74
  • David Buckman, Artists in Britain since 1945, Goldmark Gallery, 2006, Vol. D p. 82

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