Up above

Emily Sutton's illustration for blog header for Shelf Appeal

When I began Shelf Appeal all those posts ago, I always wanted to make the blog header a changing thing.  I wanted it to be the equivalent of a frontispiece in a book.  A visual lead-in to the sort of things I like to blog about.

It has taken me a long time and a bit of dutch courage (would anyone want to contribute?) to get there.

The first illustration I have commissioned is by Emily Sutton. I came to her through St Judes, who have an eye and a half for tasty things. And then I saw a nice flock of her delicate, intricate textile birds in World of Interiors magazine. Those birds have long been on my want list and her illustrations and prints just get better and better.

Emily’s work is intimate in subject.  She looks to the domestic and the ordinary, everyday. It is an aesthetic that looks back to Ravilious and Bawden and all those British mid-century artists. But her work carries its own contemporary story, too. A love of craft, toys, animals, pattern. A delight in subjects you might normally only catch sight of from the corner of your eye.

Emily, very obviously, has shelves of her own. I asked her what, at the moment, was on them:

“Currently in pride of place is an antique painted wooden dollhouse given to me by my boyfriend Mark Hearld, my growing collection of old Steiff animals (a squirrel, rabbit, lion and budgie), some primitive looking tiny fish decoys from the Knavesmire car boot sale in York, several handmade cards by my friends, a full set of lead racehorses with jockeys, and lots and lots of books.”

The process of getting this commission done couldn’t have been easier.  Emily seemed to ‘get’ what I wanted from the start. I am more than delighted with the result. I hope you like it too.



It looks delicious and reminds me of so many things most especially my grandad, perhaps its the anchovy paste and the old motorcycle – so thanks for sharing a lovely creation.

shelf appeal

As a sketch. I scanned it in and tweaked to get it as near to the original colour as possible. I’ll frame the sketch, which is beautiful too.

Heather Mayfield


I can see why you were excited about this one it is beautiful.

Thrill Gallery

Just discovered your lovely blog whilst clicking around the internet. This artwork is terrific – I love the idea of a changing header image but I’d have a hard time consigning this one to history. Perhaps you could rotate them instead!

shelf appeal

Thanks. I haven’t had the heart to even think about changing my header since I got it and it took me years to get around to doing it, so it’ll be there for a while I suspect. Funnily enough I found your blog last week via Twitter – 50p is setting the bar pretty low in charity shops these days but good luck.


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