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CSW Mourns the Loss of Ian Falconer '77

The Cambridge School of Weston was saddened to learn of the loss of author and illustrator Ian Falconer ’77, creator of the children’s book character Olivia, “the energetic piglet.” Ian had a wide ranging career, spanning the worlds of publishing, opera, ballet and fine arts.

The enormously popular and much beloved Olivia series debuted in 2000 and comprised eight books in total. Falconer also designed dozens of covers for The New Yorker magazine, and collaborated with designer David Hockney on numerous costume and set designs for outlets including the Los Angeles Opera, Covent Garden, the Chicago Lyric, and San Francisco Operas. 

Ian grew up in Connecticut and attended Long Ridge School in Stanford before coming to CSW as a boarder at the age of 14. 

“Both schools were liberal, experimental and progressive and allowed me to spend serious time concentrating on my artistic interests,” Falconer once said. “For this I cannot thank my parents enough.”

In an interview published in the Fall 2003 edition of The Gryphon, Falconer shared that none of his art classes in college compared to what he was able to do through CSW's art program. 

"It was incredible to be able to do life drawing all morning for a month. I was able to absorb what I was learning and develop my strengths, rather than scattering my concentration between six to eight subjects in one day."

He went on to cite faculty Robin Wood, Randy Darwall and Holly Hickler as especially instrumental to his development. 

"I have such deep fondness for Cambridge School. It was a magic, deep garden — pure heaven," he said. "You felt not only freedom but you felt loved there. I blame everything on it — all my successes."

As an alum, Ian generously contributed original work to fundraising auctions at CSW in the form of one-of-a-kind, signed outtakes from the Olivia series, including a 2007 outtake from Olivia Helps with Christmas, which was auctioned as part of the schools Changing Lives campaign in 2011. 

Read Ian's 2003 interview with CSW here: https://bbk12e1-cdn.myschoolcdn.com/ftpimages/424/misc/misc_265021.pdf

The Cambridge School of Weston is a progressive high school for day and boarding students in grades 9–12 and PG. CSW's mission is to provide a progressive education that emphasizes deep learning, meaningful relationships, and a dynamic program that inspires students to discover who they are and what their contribution is to their school, their community and the world.