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Sally Seymour

Artist, potter, and lifelong

self-reliant pioneer



Sally Seymour was born in London in 1933.

Her father, Frank Medworth, was an acclaimed artist and lecturer. He has collections of work and taught at Camberwell College of Art, Hull College of Art and the National Art School in Sydney, Australia, where he was Principal from 1939 – 1947.  He wrote popular books on animal and figure drawing.


Her mother, Muriel was a potter, painter and textile designer.


Sally illustrated her first book when she was an art student in Sydney. It was highly commended in the 1951 Australian Book of the Year Awards. She moved back to London with her mother, after her father died, and found work decorating pottery for the Festival of Britain, after which she started making and decorating pottery of her own. She continued to make pottery until recently, and it is much sought after and admired, in this country and in Australia.


Sally married John Seymour in 1954, and together they wrote the ‘The Fat of the Land’. It was to be one of many books written by John and illustrated by Sally. Their working partnership was successful until John died – a week after Sally’s stroke in September 2004.

Sally has common sense and resourcefulness which has carried her through adventurous, pioneering, and sometimes difficult periods of her life. She and John have travelled to and across the Baltic in a tiny Northumberland coble with a baby, been around a lot of Britain in a horse and cart and travelled for months on the British waterways making radio programmes and writing books. She has, more or less, lived off a smallholding, and has had to make and grow much of what she needed for a growing family. She has had to manage sometimes with very little money, and her pottery has kept the family afloat through many difficult times.

In 1988 she returned to Australia, and built herself a house out of mud bricks that she had helped to make. There she battled the elements, snakes, spiders and white ants and built up a smallholding on her own. She also established herself as an artist of some importance in a new country. 


Her indomitable spirit has stood her in good stead throughout her life, and never more so as when she had a stroke in 2004. Sally has lost the use of her right side and suffers from severe dysphasia and aphasia. With steely determination she has battled on and her progress has been remarkable. No-one would have thought that she would have attained the quality of life, and achieved as much as she has done.


Her new found left-handed drawing skills have added a further dimension to her work. 




illustration bibliography

Illustration bibliography

John Seymour titles


Boys In The Bundu (1955) – a great children's adventure story set in Africa - (Eyre and Spottiswoode) 

Sailing Through England (1956) – in a Dutch barge 'Jenny the Third' - (Eyre and Spottiswoode)

The Fat Of The Land (1961) – the Seymours' first forays into self-sufficiency in Suffolk - (Faber and Faber, new edition Carningli Press)


Voyage Into England (1966) – a four month trip around the canal systems of England and Wales with the family - (David and Charles) 

Self-Sufficiency (1973) –  a more personal forerunner to the 'The Complete Book' - (Faber and Faber) (0571099548)

The Countryside Explained (1977) – a view of the countryside - (Faber) (0571110924)

I'm A Stranger Here Myself: The Story Of A Welsh Farm (1978) – the sequel to ‘The Fat of the Land’. The Seymours cross Britain to continue farming in Wales. Cover illustration by Sally - (Faber, new edition Carningli Press) (057111234X)

On My Own Terms (1980) (revised edition) – reworking of his autobiography with his very early years removed. Dust jacket artwork by Sally - (Faber)  (0571180167)                                         


The Lore Of The Land (1982) – practical advice on land husbandry - (Whittet Books, new edition The Good Life Press) (0905483235)

The Smallholder (1983) – the stories of four smallhoders (series of 3) -  (Sidgwick and Jackson – Country Treasury series) - (0283989238)

The Shepherd (1983) – shepherding tales (series of 3) - (Sidgwick and Jackson – Country Treasury series) - (028398922X)

The Woodlander (1983) – the stories of five woodland folk  (series of 3) -(Sidgwick and Jackson – Country Treasury series) -  (0283989246)

Other authors


The Ballad of Little Billee (1950?) - by William Makepeace Thackeray - (A Blue Wren Book, Australia)

The Dove and the Ant (1950?) - one of Aesop’s Fables - (A Blue Wren Book, Australia)

Churinga Tales (1950) - by Erle Wilson - (The Australasian Publishing Company, Australia)

Tales from the Secret Bushland (1952) - by Thelma Cocking - (New Century Press Pty. Ltd., Australia)

Some Ancient Gentleman – being an examination of certain People, Plants, and Gardens (1965) by Tyler Whittle (William Heinemann Ltd.) 

Miss Read’s Country Cooking  or To Cut a Cabbage Leaf (1969) - by Miss Read - (Michael Joseph) (0718103270)

The Survival Handbook – Self-sufficiency for everyone (1975) - by Michael Allaby - (Macmillan) (0333187865)


Cottage and Country Recipes (1975) -  by Audrey Parker - (Faber) (0571105009)

Living on a Little Land (1978) - by Patrick Rivers - (Turnstone Books) (0855000864, 0855000872 Pbk))

A Country Recipe Notebook (1979) - by Audrey Parker - (Faber) (0571113923, 0571114172 Pbk)

Fred Archer, Farmer’s Son  - A Cotswold childhood in the 1920s (1984) - by Fred Archer - (Whittet Books) (0905483324)

To Be A Farmer’s Boy (1987) - by Dan Cherrington - (Whittet Books) (0905483588)


Caring for Cows (1991) - by Valerie Porter - (Whittet Books) (0905483936, 0905483944 Pbk)

N.B - This is not a definitive list of Sally's work, if anyone knows of any other titles please let us know!

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