Peggy Fortnum was born Margaret Emily Noel Fortnum on December 23, 1919 in London, England. She briefly attended Tunbridge Wells School of Art before joining the ATS during World War II. She was badly injured in a transport accident. After a long convalescence she attended the Central School of Art. The first book she illustrated was Mary F. Moore's Dorcas the Wooden Doll, which was published in 1944. She is best known for illustrating Paddington Bear for Michael Bond's children's books. The other books she illustrated include Leila Berg's Little Pete Stories, Noel Streatfeild's Thursday's Child, and Kenneth Grahame's The Reluctant Dragon. She died on March 28, 2016 at the age of 96.