To Sir, With Love

E. R. Braithwaite, To Sir, With Love, 1963

Hyacinth Vera Mary "Cynthia" Abbott was born in East Sheen, Surrey, in the fourth quarter of 1908, daughter of Allen Vincent Abbott, a stock jobber, and his wife Margaret Eliza, née Jackson.

She studied drawing and sculpture at the Slade School of Art in London from 1927 to 1931. She spent the next few years writing a novel, and in the mid-30s, travelled through the US, Europe and South Africa. During the Second World War she drove ambulances and lorries for the Fleet Air Arm, at the same time producing detailed botanical illustrations. After the war she enrolled at Bromley School of Art where she studied painting and drawing under Christopher Chamberlain.

Her botanical illustrations were published in A Bouquet of Wild Flowers by John Hutchinson in 1957. In the early 1960s she illustrated a number of children's books for The Bodley Head.

Books illustratedEdit

  • E. R. Braithwaite, To Sir, With Love, The Bodley Head, 1963
  • Helen Clare, Seven White Pebbles, The Bodley Head, 1960
  • Monica Edwards, Joan Goes Farming, The Bodley Head, 1961
  • -- Rennie Goes Riding, The Bodley Head, 1961
  • John Hutchinson, A Bouquet of Wild Flowers, Watford, Bruce & Gawthorn, 1957
  • John Ryder (ed), Six on the Black Art, Wynkyn de Worde Society, 1961 (illus w/ Margery Gill, Charles Mozley, Dick Hart, Don Higgins and Heather Copley)


  • John Ryder, Artists of a Certain Line: A Selection of Illustrators for Children's Books, The Bodley Head, 1960, p. 43