Cotswold artist, Tony Meeuwissen, receives Royal Designer Award

PUBLISHED: 14:25 08 December 2013 | UPDATED: 14:38 08 December 2013

New RDIs and Hon RDIs (Tony Meeuwissen is second from Left) at the Royal Society of Arts

New RDIs and Hon RDIs (Tony Meeuwissen is second from Left) at the Royal Society of Arts


Tony Meeuwissen: Genius of the drawing board

Radio Times cover illustration by Tony Meeuwissen, Christmas 1981Radio Times cover illustration by Tony Meeuwissen, Christmas 1981

The Royal Society of Arts (RSA) have honoured Stroud/Cotswold artist Tony Meeuwissen with Royal Designer for Industry at their annual awards in London on November 28.

Born in 1938, Tony has been quietly beavering away since the mid-50s. Over the decades, he has been responsible for some of the most staggeringly beautiful work of our times; images that have regularly won awards, accolades, and praise along the way. He is a modest, obsessive worker, spending three to four years on single-book projects.

As a freelance artist in the late 1960s and 1970s, he received commissions from The Sunday Times Magazine and Penguin Books, and was a regular contributor to the pages of Radio Times. Tony has the eye of an illustrator and the mind of a designer. His work is infused with inventive ideas and wit, always breathtakingly realised through his gift of supreme craftsmanship. This excellence has earned him two D&AD silver awards and two of the much coveted D&AD gold awards, the only artist to have achieved this. He has also won the Victoria & Albert Museum’s illustration award, and a collection of his work is in the V&A’s Department of Prints and Drawings.

Tony designs and illustrates his own books, including, the children’s titles The Witch’s Hat and Remarkable Animals, and The Key to the Kingdom, a book and deck of exquisitely painted transformation playing cards that took him three years to complete. He has designed postage stamps for the Royal Mail, and won the Italian Francobollo d’Oro award for the world’s most beautiful stamp. In 2001 his weather stamps were voted the most popular stamps of the year. A retrospective exhibition of his work at Stroud’s Museum in the Park in 2009 was hailed as their most successful exhibition ever. Now age 75, Tony shows no sign of retiring and is well into another lengthy book project.

Christmas stamp designs by Tony MeeuwissenChristmas stamp designs by Tony Meeuwissen

Tony Meeuwissen has spent his life demonstrating an extraordinary level of craftsmanship. All produced by hand, without the aid of digital technology. He is an inspiration to anyone wanting to understand the hand-and-eye craft that is being lost in this digital age. And, what’s more, he never went to art school, but learned his profession the old way in the long gone ‘commercial art’ studios of the mid 1950s.

Tony’s highly detailed imagery traces a line even further back, to the medieval scribes, and bears comparison with Escher, Magritte and the best traditional Japanese art. It is full of references, allusion and familiar things in entirely unfamiliar situations. A perfect combination of art and craft, design and illustration, hand and eye.

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