About Victor Ambrus


As a young boy, Victor’s main interests were drawing and history, and as a student was accepted by the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts. His final year was interrupted by the Hungarian Uprising in 1956, many of the art students being involved in defending their city.

Making his way across the border to Austria, he was offered the choice of making a new life in England or U.S.A.  Influenced by such artists as Arthur Rackham and Ernest Shepherd as a child, he was flown to Blackbushe, Hampshire UK., eventually attending Farnham School of Art, where the principle proposed him for admittance to the School of Graphics at the Royal College of Art, London, where he gained a Royal Scholarship in his first year.

His first book White Horses and Black Bulls for the publisher, Blackie & Son was favourably reviewed by the Times, and after a short spell working in advertising at London Press Exchange, he began illustrating more children’s books, mainly to do with horses at which he excelled.

Victor Ambrus Biography
Inset: Victor wearing his favourite military breastplate with bullet-strike.

Victor has illustrated over 400 books, twice winning the Kate Greenaway medal. These consisted of folk tales, some of which he wrote, historical novels for older children and young adults, as well illustrating books on archaeology. In addition, he designed stamps, worked as resident illustrator for the archaeological TV programme Time Team and taught classes in life and portrait drawing.

He was one of seven leading British illustrators to be included in the prestigious exhibition entitled 'The World of English Picture Books', which toured in Japan during 1998, along with Sir Quentin Blake, Brian Wildsmith and Raymond Briggs.

Alongside illustration, as portrait artist, his commissions included English Art Historian Sir Roy Strong, English singer, songwriter and entertainer Dame Vera Lynn for the British War Museum, violinist & conductor Yehudi Menuhin and potter Siddig El Nigoumi.

But his main love was to illustrate history and bring it to life. To gain accurately, a swordsman’s experience of wielding a sword on a horse, he was not obverse to jumping on the back of one and startling a local mushroom picker.