Phyllis Ginger (1907 - 2005)

Self-portrait, circa 1937


SKU: 10331


Height – 17.8cm
Width – 12.7cm

6 in stock


The Artist daughter

From Rembrandt’s celebrated portraits to Vic Mensa’s The auto-biography (2017), the art of self portraiture remains the most subjective form of all self-expression. So Where might Phyllis Ginger’s self-portrait fit into this artistic and cultural narrative? 

Phyllis Ethel Ginger was born in Surrey on October 19th 1907 and enrolled at the Richmond School of Art in 1932, later winning a scholarship to the Central School of Art and Design (1937-39). Belonging to a generation in which female artists were often marginalised, Ginger here made a point of depicting herself as a independent  female artist., This harshly honest etched image can be dated to her time at The Central School, (circa 1937), where she studied under the tutelage of William P Robins, (circa.1937): she had cut her long dark auburn hair after having recently left her civil service clerking job.   

Although Ginger made self portraits at various points in her career she was more drawn to portraying her friends and family, retaining a certain diffidence about her own image.  Indeed, Eleanor Durbin, the artist’s daughter, declared that ‚Äúportraying friends and family members was much more in her character. She was interested in recording others, and was more generally self effacing about her own image on paper‚Äù. 

We are grateful to Maude Llewellyn and Eleanor Durbin for assistance.

Copyright  for Phyllis Ginger is held by the Artist’s Estate, courtesy of Eleanor Henley and Paul Durbin.

Liss Llewellyn are continually seeking to improve the quality of the information on their website. We actively undertake to post new and more accurate information on our stable of artists. We openly acknowledge the use of information from other sites including Wikipedia, and and other public domains. We are grateful for the use of this information and we openly invite any comments on how to improve the accuracy of what we have posted.


1907 - 2005

Painter, illustrator and etcher, born in New Malden, Surrey. She attended Richmond School of Art, 1932-35 where she studied under Stanley Badmin and the Central School of Arts & Crafts from 1937-39, where her main teacher was John Farleigh. Ginger was elected a member of the Senefelder Club in 1939 and joined the important AIA group of artists. Her ambition was to become a full-time illustrator, but during the war years she was retained by the Pilgrim Trust and her resulting work can be seen in the Recording Britain series.

Ginger exhibited at the Royal Watercolour Society, of which she became a member in 1958, the Royal Academy, New English Art Club. Phyllis Ginger designed and illustrated numerous book-jackets and books during the 1950’s and in the years immediately following World War II her work was reproduced in the Pictures for Schools series. Examples of her work are in the permanent collections of Washington State Library, Victoria & Albert Museum, the South London Art Gallery, Victoria Art Gallery, Bath, GAC, BM, BC and Museum of London. She was married to the silversmith Leslie Durbin who predeceased her by only a few weeks.
The Virgin of Aldermanbury: Rebirth of the City of London, illustrated by Phyllis Ginger. Published by J. M. Dent & Sons, London, 1958.
Alexander, the Circus Pony, written and illustrated by Phyllis Ginger. Published by Penguin Books: Harmondsworth & New York, 1943.
The Mushroom Pony by Joan Lamburn, illustrated by Phyllis Ginger. Published by Noel Carrington, London, 1947.
With thanks to


Phyllis Ginger (1907 - 2005)
Design for a Wedgwood Plate, circa 1944
Phyllis Ginger (1907 - 2005)
Design for a Wedgwood Plate, circa 1944
Phyllis Ginger (1907 - 2005)
Self portrait, c.1937