Axelby’s work is an unadulterated celebration of English decoration in all its visual glory” Financial Times

About SJ

SJ Axelby has had a paintbrush in her hand for as long as she can remember. From a long lineage of artists, including her great, great grandfather who designed the Penny Black stamp and was the art teacher to Queen Victoria’s children, you could say that painting is part of her DNA. A true creative, her parents were antique dealers and the family business focused on antique restoration. She was never happier than surrounded by antique textiles, shelves crammed with Wemyss, Willow pattern and Chintzware and collections of just about anything.
She has a degree in textile design which continues to influence her love of pattern, colour and all things interiors.


Best known for her room portraiture, recent clients include Christies, Kit Kemp and Alexandra Tolstoy. Her work has featured in the Telegraph Stella Magazine, FT How to Spend It, the Liberty Book, Elle Decoration and The World of Interiors to name a few and international titles such as Elle Décor Italia, AD, Arch Digest etc.

Prior to that she led a full and varied global career in publishing with the Daily Mail Group Trust. She now works full time as a room portrait artist working for designers, hoteliers, and clients around the world and is the founder and host of @roomportraitclub. She works in mixed media, predominantly in watercolour with markers, oil pastel and pencil and she always draws with a fine-liner pen. She adores table settings, antiques, “shelfies” and vignettes. Her use of bold colour, busy pattern and lots of contrasting textures make her work zing. Image credits are shown on each piece with huge thanks to each of the designers and makers for permission to use their interiors and photography as inspiration while she works from her studio in the Chilterns. Her debut book, SJ Axelby’s Interior Portraits is out in September 2022, with Pavilion/Harper Collins.