The Scapegoat

From Daphne du Maurier, The Scapegoat, Heron Books, 1971

Renate Meyer was born in Berlin on 5 March 1930, daughter of Peter Ferdinand Meyer, a cardiologist, and his wife Eva, née Tauber. The family was Jewish, and emigrated to London in 1933, where her father established himself on Harley Street. They became naturalised British citizens in 1938. During the war Renate was evacuated to the home of a former colonel in the Indian Army. She was educated at a girls' boarding school, where she never felt she fitted in.

In 1947 she enrolled at Regent Street Polytechnic to study art. In 1949 she met Charles Keeping, who was at the time working as a part-time life model. They married on 20 September 1952, and had three children - Jonathan (born 1953), Vicki (1956) and Sean (1959), as well as Frank (1962), a West Indian boy they fostered from 1962 and adopted in 1966.

Between 1969 and 1973 she wrote and illustrated a series of picture books for The Bodley Head, often using textiles and papier maché as well as paint, and also illustrated illustrated classic novels for Heron Books. She also taught art. In 1982 she began a series of wall hangings, combining painting and sewing, telling the story of her family. After Charles died in 1988, she turned their house into a gallery of both their work. She died on 24 March 2014, aged 84.

Books illustratedEdit

  • Daphne du Maurier, The Scapegoat, Heron Books, 1971
  • Alistair MacLean, Force 10 From Navarone, Fontana, 1970
    • -- Fear is the Key, Heron Books, 1973
  • Renate Meyer, Hide-and-Seek, The Bodley Head, 1969
    • -- Vicki, Atheneum, 1969
    • -- Let's Play Mums and Dads, Random House, 1970
    • -- The Story of Knittle and Threadle, The Bodley Head, 1971
    • -- Mr. Knitted and the Family Tree, The Bodley Head, 1972
    • -- Susie's Dolls' Pram, The Bodley Head, 1973


  • Douglas Martin, Charles Keeping: An Illustrator's Life, Julia MacRae Books, 1993, pp. 44-88
  • Rolli Muray, Renate Keeping obituary, The Guardian, 27 April 2014
  • News, The Keeping Gallery, 22 September 2014

External linksEdit