The original illustrator of Postman Pat has landed her second ever Royal Academy art exhibition at the age of 84.

Joan Hickson, from Crescent Road, Kingston, will be displaying a painting of her father and his brother in World War I, at the show in Burlington House.

She said: “There has always been something about the First World War which is quite a powerful thing. The men who were in it hardly ever speak about it, and millions were killed.

“It formed quite a big part of my childhood, even though it finished before I was born. I do not think anyone will forget about it. It had an effect and still does.”

Her first painting went on display with the academy in 1947, while she was studying at the Brighton College of Art.

The work was called Head of a Girl, and it was a simple self-portrait.

She said: “I was a great fan of the artist Gwen John, who was and still is a big name. So this influenced the type of painting I did.”

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Since then she has always worked as an artist, whether illustrating or painting. She lived in Richmond for 30 years and in Kingston for 15.

She said she has illustrated about 105 books for the Postman Pat series, as well as comic strips.

Having been to Burlington House frequently since her first painting was displayed, she said she was amazed at how much it has changed.

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She said: “Art has just sort of expanded into so many directions, particularly the fact that when I exhibited, art was figurative and representational to a great degree.

“I know Picasso was around then, but he hadn’t started exhibiting in the way he did afterwards.

“Nowadays art is far more open to everyone.

“It will be interesting to go this year.”