Mabel Lucie Attwell was born ninth of ten children to a butcher and his wife in the East End of London. Three of the ten children died in infancy.
Mabel as a girl was inclined to drift off into dreams and imaginings, but nonetheless at fifteen submitted some of her artwork to a London gallery, and sold her first pictures. It was the beginning of a long, prolific, and successful career (Attwell illustrated more than 1000 postcards, as well as over 50 books). Mabel turned out to be a hard-working perfectionist, with a consistently professional attitude.
After marrying in 1908, the couple happily moved house a couple of times to accommodate their growing family. Their third child, Brian, arrived in 1914. During WW1 her husband Howard (also an artist) saw active service, and was so badly wounded in France in 1916, he lost an arm. Some 18 years later the youngest son Brian was suddenly struck down by pneumonia and subsequently died at only twenty years of age. Two years later her Howard also passed away.
Mabel Lucie Attwell continued to enjoy tremendous popularity, thanks to the charm of the warmly appealing cherubs and wee folk populating her illustrations. She got a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction from her career, but said that the best and most exciting thing by far to happen in her life was the experience of being a mother. The family she had made with Howard was a loving and happy one.
She spent the last twenty years of her life living with her son Peter in Cornwall, all the while still illustrating, with the help and support of her daughter Peggy.