Annie Tempest was born in Zambia in 1959 and moved to the UK with her family in 1962, after which her father inherited the magnificent Broughton Hall which was later to become the inspiration for Tottering-by-Gently. At the age of 24, whilst working as a medical secretary she began to teach herself how to draw. This, coupled with a love of cryptic crosswords combined to sow the seeds of a career as a cartoonist, initially working for the Daily Mail for seven and a half years with a strip called ‘The Yuppies’. In 1989, she was voted ‘Strip cartoonist of the year’ by her peers in the Cartoonists Club of Great Britain.
Annie created Tottering-by-Gently and joined Country Life magazine in 1993. Her subtle and humorous depictions of Dicky and Daffy Tottering and their family has expanded into a small empire both through syndication and licensing as well as a number of memorable exhibitions abroad in Mexico and New York but also at The O’Shea Gallery. As the Duke of Devonshire commented Tottering-by-Gently is the reason why ‘most people read magazines backwards’. In 2009 she won the prestigious Pont Prize for her portrayal of the British Character – the highest accolade in her profession. Annie is still living and working in rural Norfolk in a beautifully converted barn surrounded by glorious gardens. Her studios are filled with Tottering delights and whilst her weekly plans for Dicky and Daffy continue, her creative expression has also found a new outlet in sculpture, her inaugural sculpture exhibition ‘Play as cast’ was held at The O’Shea Gallery in April 2012.
“Annie is a bit of England, she articulates the things which set us apart and which form our identity. She has created a cast of characters from a certain set, but her observations are social rather than political. They are gentler and beautifully observed.” Sir Roy Strong, former head of the Victoria and Albert Museum
“Annie Tempest is one of the few women cartoonists who have made it to the very top of the industry.” Cartoonists Art Trust, November 2009
“She’s one of the Country’s top cartoonists, the woman who captures the essence of the British humour in her delightful Tottering-by-Gently cartoons. She is one of Norfolk’s great artistic talents.” Angie Kennedy, Eastern Daily Press, Norfolk, May 2010
“It is because of Annie Tempest that most people read magazines backwards.” Duke of Devonshire CBE, At Home with the Totterings, 2007
“The real-life family echo is part of the phenomenon that has turned Annie Tempest’s Tottering-by-Gently from a magazine cartoon strip about dotty aristos into a worldwide merchandising business of prints, cards, china, books and even own-brand Champagne.” Peter Stamford, The Telegraph, November 2011
“Annie Tempest has been compared to Sir Osbert Lancaster… (her) beautifully observed drawings of Tottering’s interior features – chimney-pieces, furniture, portraits, porcelain and so forth – are all works of art in themselves…” The Spectator
“Together with the Spectator column, written by Carla Carlisle, it forms one of the most successful pages in publishing history.” Mark Hedges, Editor of Country Life Magazine, August 2012
“Tottering portrays a cast of characters endearingly absent minded and tipsy, surrounded by labradors, horses, guns, Agas and endless bottles… It is a brilliantly observed, affectionate portrayal of a way of aristocratic rural life, changing irrevocably as it adapts to the modern world.” Charlotte Metcalf, Spears Magazine, September 2012