Janet Grahame Johnstone (1 June 1928 - 1979) and Anne Grahame Johnstone (1 Jun 1928 - 25 May 1998) were twin sisters and British children's book illustrators. The twins were born in 1928 to successful British portraitist and costume designer Doris Zinkeisen and her husband, Captain Grahame Johnstone. They attended Saint Martin's School of Art in London, where they studied period clothing styles before moving to Suffolk in 1966. The twins never married and both lived with their mother until their deaths (Zinkeisen died in 1991). The Johnstone sisters' popularity took off in the early 1950s, when they were noticed by publishers and acquired a growing reputation as talented illustrators. They always worked together, passing drawings back and forth across their studio until both twins were satisfied with the final outcome. Janet specialized in animals and birds. Anne focused on the period costumes that so dominated their work. Because of their symbiotic collaboration, until the death of Janet in 1979, there was never a book illustrated under either one of their names alone. Over the course of their career together, the sisters illustrated more than 100 books.
Anne Grahame Johnstone
In 1979, Janet died as a result of smoke inhalation following a fire in the kitchen, leaving Anne devastated and alone for the first time in her life. Their brother Murray described them together as one and a half rather than two people. Anne found herself unexpectedly responsible for the entire business enterprise previously shared with her sister, and managed to honour all of their outstanding commissions. She had to master the techniques for drawing and painting animals, particularly horses, which had been the specialty of her sister. Eventually she became so adept that she was elected a Member of the Society of Equestrian Artists in 1998.
On her own in the 1980s, Anne produced many fine illustrations. Two particularly notable books she illustrated were the editions of Peter Pan and The Water Babies, published by Award Publications. Each year she also produced Christmas cards for Royles, which were very popular. Other projects included designs for limited edition Christmas jigsaw puzzles for the British bookstore chain Waddingtons, and two books she wrote and illustrated about Santa Claus. Over the years, she became an expert in 19th-century military uniforms and often worked as an heraldic artist through the College of Arms. Anne died of liver cancer in Badingham, Suffolk on May 25, 1998 at the age of 69. She continued to work until two days before her death.