Frances Tyrrell

“Creating books is my joy: the sketching, the research, and the slow but sure progress of detailed painting. The final brushstrokes, when it comes alive – that is magic.”
– Frances Tyrrell

Frances Tyrrell’s finely detailed and imaginative watercolours have earned her international recognition.

Born in Kirkland Lake, Ontario and raised in Montreal, Frances took Fine Arts at John Abbott College, Quebec and at The University of Western Ontario. After completing university in 1986 she rented a studio space with her first contract, designs for Carlton Cards’ “Canadian Artist” product line. These uniquely Canadian designs led to her first book contract, The Huron Carol for Lester and Orpen, Dennys and was simultaneously published in the UK and the United States.

Frances has illustrated over a dozen books for children, including The Huron Carol, Woodland Christmas, Woodland Nutcracker, Grandmother’s Tree, and the unique “fairy to fairy” publications, The Illustrated Fairy Gazettes.
Frances’ watercolour paintings feature flowing designs, loving attention to detail and a sometimes whimsical take on things. Nature and literature are her inspiration.

A lover of the magical world of illustrated books since childhood, Frances now takes great pleasure in creating beautiful books for today’s children. Her works Huron Carol and Woodland Christmas have been shortlisted for the Governor-General’s Award for Illustration, while her original watercolours are in private and public collections.

Frances and Hedi have been friends who share a love of whimsy and fantasy. Hedi has been an enthusiastic supporter of Frances’ work from the start, especially the fairy tale themed paintings.

Frances Tyrrell illustrates beautiful and joyful fairy fantasy and Canadian nature in her art. A variety of her artwork, books, and Canadian themed Christmas and winter holiday cards are available at The Gallery Upstairs in Milton, Ontario.

To purchase visit the gallery or call ahead to place an order with Hedi and we’ll have it ready for you when you arrive for pick up.


Shortlist, Governor General’s Literary Award for young people’s literature – Illustration 1990, The Huron Carol,
Shortlist, Governor General’s Award for Illustration 1995, Woodland Christmas
Shortlist, Elizabeth Mrazik Cleaver Award, 1996
Shortlist, Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award, 1996
Shortlist, Kate Greenaway Award (UK, 1990)


Illustrations in the Permanent collection of the Toronto Public Library, Lillian H. Smith and Osborne Collections
Ste Marie Among the Hurons Museum, The Huron Carol installation, 2007-2012 and 2012-2017
Eatons stores Christmas displays, Woodland Nutcracker Christmas, 1999-2001

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