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How Emily Sutton painted a traditional Bettys Christmas

5 December 2018

We’ve been proud to feature the delightful illustrations of York artist Emily Sutton on Bettys products for several years now and just love how her hand-drawn style complements our love of craft and attention to detail. After she brought our Enchanted Forest theme so beautifully to life last Christmas, this year we asked Emily to depict somewhere just as magical closer to home – our Café Tea Rooms.

In response, she’s created a wonderful scene, filled with warmth and delight. From the families enjoying our new festive Lady Betty Afternoon Tea, to the children peering at the treats in our famous window displays, Emily’s illustration perfectly captures the joy and anticipation that we at Bettys share with all of you as Christmas approaches.

As she always does, Emily created the scene by hand, drawing with pen and ink and then adding watercolours in a classic Christmas palette: traditional red and green, warm yellow and frosty pale blue. The vivid hues also hark back to Emily’s beloved book illustrations, particularly those from what she calls the ‘golden age’, from the 1930s to the 1960s. “That’s my favourite period: that lithographic look, with bright, vibrant colours,” she enthuses.

With its nod to all that’s best about Christmases past and present, Emily’s illustration is perfect for nostalgic gifts such as our Christmas Hat Box. That wouldn’t have been out of place nestled under the tree during what she reveals is her favourite era of festive celebrations. “The Victorian age was the absolute pinnacle of Christmas for me,” she says. “I love all of the ephemera: the old Victorian cards and the imagery from that period. It seemed to be very magical with candles on the trees, as much as that’s a fire hazard!” she laughs.

It’s no surprise to hear that decorations are a part of Christmas that Emily especially loves, and have been since she was a child. “I think my mum still has some of the creations that my sister and I made,” she says. With her drawing talents in demand, there’s much less time to craft her own these days. “But I try my best,” she says. “Last year a friend of mine taught me how to make traditional Danish folded paper stars which are really simple, yet beautiful. And then I usually make a wreath.”

In the meantime Emily can be proud to know that her vision of Bettys adorned with festive trimmings is inspiring our real-life displays – just one more reason to take a peek through our windows this Christmas.

Shop our Christmas collection