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Kathleen Hale OBE (1898-2000)


Kathleen Hale, OBE (1898-2000)

Precocious and versatile, Kathleen Hale established herself as a member of the artistic circle of Fitzrovia while still in her twenties. However, it was marriage and motherhood that engendered her most immortal creation, Orlando the Marmalade Cat, and his adventures – which were first told to her sons as bedtime stories. The artwork and its reproduction for the first published stories set a new standard for children’s illustrated books when they appeared in 1938.

Kathleen Hale was born on 24 May 1898 in Broughton, near Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland, where her parents had a holiday home. She was brought up in a select suburb of Manchester until the death of her father, a travelling agent for Chappell pianos, when she was five years old. Her mother then took over her husband’s job, settling Hale and her brother with relatives.

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