Pip Shuckburgh, née Spargo, was born and brought up on the Oxfordshire/Berkshire borders. Her family was, and is, universally artistic. Her parents created, amongst many other things, the iconic television animated series Willo the Wisp. She assumed, as a child, that everyone was an artist and that the regular, evening critique of her and her siblings’ artwork was as normal as scrambled eggs.
Inevitably she went to art college and embarked on a career in illustration and commercial art, landing her first complete book to illustrate at the age of 21. Working largely in watercolour and gouache, she illustrated books for Duckworth, (Cry Wolf, by Patrice Chaplin), Blackie, (The Safe and Sound series), Mitchell Beazley, (The Pocket Book of Dogs), Heineman, the Sunday Times and many others. She had a studio in Clerkenwell in London where she worked on commercial commissions for such companies as Pedigree Pet foods, ICI, Grand Met, Lucas and Vitalin.
To fulfil her long-standing ambition to be a painter, she turned to oils in the 1990s. For several years she honed her painting skills, before her first, solo exhibition in the West Ox Arts gallery in her home town of Bampton, where her work was greeted with huge enthusiasm and many of her paintings found new homes. She has since exhibited successfully in the C2 gallery in Milton Keynes, the Said gallery, the North Wall gallery and St Hilda’s college in Oxford, and the Cork Street and Knapp galleries in London.
Pip has lived in Bampton for many years. Since she moved there she has developed a considerable reputation for painting the local great houses, from the world famous Blenheim Palace to Weald Manor in Bampton itself, and has built a thriving business producing cards, prints and other merchandising on behalf of those houses. It was natural therefore, when the production company of Downton Abbey decided to use her home town as the setting for Downton Village, that she should paint a selection of the houses used in the filming of Downton to create gifts and souvenirs for the villagers of Bampton to provide to the many visitors from around the world who come to visit the film set.