love at first sight: emily sutton’s charming watercolors

Several years ago, this lovely pen-and-ink and watercolor painting caught my eye as I was intently browsing the web for art that is beautiful, handmade, and strikingly original.

And there was more:


You know what a fool I am for fine china and crockery, especially pieces that are decidedly British. Let’s just say there was a lot of sighing, a quickened pulse, and an immediate desire to learn more about the artist.

Emily Sutton! She hails from North Yorkshire, is a graduate of the Edinburgh College of Art (2008), and she also studied at York College and the Rhode Island School of Design.

The more I saw of her work, the more I fell in love. Not only do I like the pattern and intricate detail, her choice of subjects is definitely after my own heart — old-time shop windows and high streets, historic buildings, antiques, ephemera, vintage tins, Victorian transferware, curious found objects, dollhouses, the alphabet!

She’s also inspired by vintage children’s books, folk art, travels to France, and the wildlife and vistas of the Yorkshire countryside. She makes gorgeous life-size birds from painted and stitched calico with whittled wood beaks.

Now, all these things would have been enough to make me a diehard Emily fan, but there’s even more — her children’s book illustrations, 3-D art cards, and book cover art!

Her children’s books include the Clara Button series written by Amy de la Haye, two science books written by Nicola Davies, a dollhouse coloring book, and The Christmas Eve Tree by Delia Huddy.

Interior spread from The Christmas Eve Tree
Interior spread from Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes

And yes, her Victorian crockery paintings are all featured in Transferware Treasures, a limited edition concertina book published by Fleece Press (2015).

But there’s even more (quickened pulse again) — I just learned that she recently illustrated a picture book written by none other than — wait for it —  Michael Bond!

*cue in 50-something resident Paddingtons going beserk*

The Tale of the Castle Mice just came out in Fall 2016. Must get my paws on that one lickety split! 🙂

I like picturing Emily working diligently in her top floor home studio in York, a home she shares with partner Mark Hearld, a multi-talented artist/designer/printmaker and collector of odd and unusual things (my kind of person too — we’ll have to feature his brilliant work in another post!).

With their mutual love of collecting, one can only imagine the wild, wooly, wonderful artifacts displayed in their home, every room its own work of art. The finding, placing, and then painting of an object all become part of the creative process.

It’s been awhile since I’ve visited York and I’m yearning to return. Till then, I can enjoy Emily Sutton’s work. It’s heartening to know that stunning artistry, industry, and creativity are alive and well, and that there are those devoted to making the world a more beautiful place.

Enjoy this video of Emily discussing her solo exhibition “Town and Country” at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park 2-1/2 years ago.



♥ Learn more about Emily Sutton at her Official Website.

♥ Some of her greeting cards are available for purchase here, and there are several online galleries that sell her original paintings and prints.

Copyright © 2017 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.













22 thoughts on “love at first sight: emily sutton’s charming watercolors

  1. Wow, Jama. I don’t need more pottery, but the pictures are marvelous. I am amiss at not researching further. I loved Tiny Creatures, certainly will look for more of Emily’s books and art. Thank you.


    1. I wasn’t familiar with Tiny Creatures, though I had seen Emily’s work on book covers before. I don’t need any more pottery either, but still like looking at pictures of it. 🙂


  2. Emily Sutton’s style is so very familiar – it seems to go comfortably with books from childhood. And those birds!! Gorgeous stuff! Thanks for highlighting her; she’s one of those artists who seems like coming home.


  3. I loved walking the walls of York long ago! I still have a lovely stained glass ornament star hanging in my study window that I purchased there. Such a lovely city!

    And I especially love Emily’s birds!! Thanks, Jama 🙂


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