Tuesday, 1 December 2009

14th Annual Winter Exhibition

Once again a busy year rotates full circle to our largest and most exciting time of the year. The winter exhibition is the most extensive collection of contemporary book illustration artwork in the world, and is always a highlight for so many of our loyal visitors.

This year's 14th such show kicked off to no less excitement than usual. A host of artists, collectors, publishers and well-wishers joined us to celebrate, and as the refreshing bubbles were quaffed amidst the excited chatter of old friends re-united a host of new pictures were celebrated. The best collection to date we are proud to show this work here in central London, all of which is featured our new catalogue for 2010 available at the gallery, and also previewed on our website at www.illustrationcupboard.com. The collection includes terrific new work by many of the world's finest illustrators, and we are also delighted to include for the first time graphic novel artwork and an ever increasing range of film animation artwork.

With a broad range of signed first edition books, special silk screens and original artwork on show there is truly something for everybody in this colourful and engaging collection. All signed books are sold at cover price, and original artwork starts at £150. Well worth a festive visit should you be visiting the bright lights of central London, and a warm welcome waits all during the yuletide season. For those tucked up with the dog next to a warm fire-side at home everything can be acquired via our website online purchasing facility and swift delivery service.

Above: Christopher Wormell with a keen collector admires the rare signed pictures of Where The Wild Things Are during our opening reception.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Tales of New York Times

It is always good news to hear of artists we work with scaling ever-increasing and dizzy heights of success, as such it was exciting to see that one of our favourites - Shaun Tan and his excellent Tales from Outer Suburbia has been nominated as one of this year's best illustrated books by The New York Times. This book and Shaun's artwork has caught the eye of many visitors to the gallery over recent months, both by those who are ardent devotees of his work but also those new to illustration.

Copies of this book are available here at the gallery, (£10.99) and we will be showing further work connected to this book at our 14th Annual Winter Exhibition which opens shortly on the 19th November. Artwork is availabe from £295 upwards.


Friday, 30 October 2009

Drink and the Devil

Come and have a yarn with John. Although the words of the much-loved anti-hero and all-round ne'er-do-well Long John Silver the impressive turnout of family, friends and collectors on Tuesday night all boarded ship here on Bury St. to do exactly that. Not that we were huddle around the apple barrel. The amassed crew gently imbibed refreshing rum punch whilst Squire Lawrence heartily signed books and greeted old friends in a congenial atmosphere far from piratical. The shattering of a wine goblet may have heralded the onset of mutinous revolt however the fortuitous discovery of another crate of grog below decks swiftly allayed any such erstwhile activity, and order was restored without recourse to the local magistrate.

Described by one as the definite version of Treasure Island, John Lawrence's masterful handling of this great classic of British literature is none the less impressive than Stevenson's rollicking adventure yarn. John's work, as always, shows profound understanding of subject, a keen perception of spirit and masterful technical ability. The bloody and ultimately fatal struggle between the unremittingly evil Israel Hands and the Irishman in a brutal moment of piratical infighting is displayed in superb style. The struggling combatants, framed by the doorway of the cabin, lurch one way across the deck whilst the Hispaniola sways precariously to the other. In a scene of desperation, volatility and ferocity there is little mistake to be made from John's vivid depiction that this is no mere inebriated disagreement, but uncompromising and ghastly conflict to the death. The spirit of these illustrations is gripping and heartily evoke the spirit of this fabled bygone age. Much appreciated by all, the gallery was looted of these beautifully produced books, and we now dig in earnest for more. For the true bounty hunter this rich booty can be acquired for a mere scattering of doubloons. No map required.

Friday, 2 October 2009

"That went as well as could be expected, didn't it?"

For two decades the iconic heroes Wallace and Gromit have been chasing diamond thieves, wrestling sheep rustlers, hunting lycanthropes and foiling 'cereal' killers. It was time for a party.

As so it was a great pleasure to host Nick Park last Tuesday evening here on Bury St., at a celebration for twenty years of Wallace and Gromit. A packed and enthusiastic crowd filled both floors of the gallery as Nick chatted easily to film makers, collectors and children alike as the plates of Wensleydale rotated through the crowd.

Our thanks to this charming, fascinating and busy gent who so patiently sat and signed copies of the new book The Art of Wallace and Gromit (Egmont) and available at the gallery £20. The 20 year celebratory exhibition of Nick's artwork will run throughout October and features original watercolours, working storyboards, figurines as well a special edition silk screen print signed and numbered by the artist. A must-see for all Wallace and Gromit fans and ideal for a family visit, a journey to this event can only be described as truly a grand day out.

Above; Nick Park signs his new book.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Salve et Vale!

Time flows like the river, and the ever-constant cycle of the seasons brings with it the winds of change to the parks and gardens around the city as well as to life at Bury St. Regretfully releasing Mara Ferreri from her tasks here at the gallery we wish her well and every success with her forthcoming PhD. which commences this autumn. Many of you who have visited our events and exhibitions will have been greeted by this charming Milanesa who has been of great support and inspiration throughout her time here. We were all sad to see her leave. Stepping in to this challenging role we welcome Beau Brady who has come to us from Hauser and Wirth after studying at The Courtauld Institute. Beau has already thrown herself in to 'Cupboard' life and is busily working away on the exciting preparations for our busy autumn and winter seasons ahead with events including celebrations with Nick Park for 20 years of Wallace and Gromit, John Lawrence and his new Treasure Island and the 14th Annual Winter Exhibition which opens in November. With an air of a new term commencing we look forward to the months ahead and seeing many of you again in the near future.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Congratulations to Anthony Browne

Congratulations to Anthony Browne who has become the latest Children's Laureate. Anthony Browne is one of the greatest and surely best-loved illustrators of the modern era, whose books are known throughout the world and whose artwork hugely admired.

I have been very fortunate to have known him through a family connection with publishing since I was a child, and first recall meeting him sipping tea around our kitchen table at home in what I then considered to be a distinctly gorilla-like fashion.
Since starting ‘the cupboard’ in ‘95 he has always been an enthusiastic supporter and I am delighted to have worked with Anthony for over a decade representing him with his original artwork at our events and exhibitions. We all wish him every success in the task ahead, and confident that his informative discussion and all-encompassing charm will herald a successful and rewarding stewardship of this post.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Shaun Tan in London

With the advent of The Ashes test cricket series only weeks away Australians are very much in the field of play this summer. As befitting this forthcoming sporting event we were excited by the prospect of the book-launch and evening reception for Shaun Tan. This rapidly rising star is proving to be a veritable Dennis Lilee of the book illustration world and as such is taking the globe by storm.

Having just completed his run-up with a tour of the US, Shaun arrived at the crease hot-foot from a sun-soaked Hay Festival book signing and was no less mobbed at our evening reception. Courtesy of Hodder Children’s Books and Templar Publishing the chilled drinks circulated and the crowd spilled out on to Bury St. in a carnival atmosphere. With perfect delivery Shaun spoke a few well-chosen words to the hushed and expectant crowd, and backed-up well in exemplary fashion fielding a lengthy queue of visitors keen to spend a few moments with this talented and engaging artist.

Although the over came all too soon, and now basking back in the pavilion of a Western Australian winter we have continued by turning a brief match into an ongoing series - Shaun kindly produced four original pastels for us (£1250) based on his published books, as well as producing a selection of fine limited giclĂ©e editions (£295) which are hanging in the main gallery here at Bury St. until 21 June. These can be viewed or purchased directly from our website at www.illustrationcupboard.com. Signed first editions of the latest book Tales from Outer Suburbia are also available for £12.99. Without having to labour a silly point these represent a terrific bargain.

(Above: Shaun Tan chats with Shirley Hughes at the reception photo courtesy of Mara Ferreri)

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Summers' arrived.

Linda Summers: It was with much pleasure that I attended a select and enjoyable evening reception last night celebrating Linda Summers' retirement from Random House Children's Books. I have known Linda for a large percentage of my life and she has been a loyal, trusted and terrific family friend throughout these many years. There is little that can be added to the words spoken by Julia MacRae and Philippa Dickinson save to say that there a handful of people without whom the IC would not be basking on sunny Bury St today; Linda is one of them. On more than one occasion I have bribed her with dreadful cooking and embarrassingly lukewarm chardonnay to sit around my kitchen table and stuff thousands of envelopes, not what one would normally ask of one of the most respected associate publishers in the industry. Thank you Linda. Needless to say there was an impressive turnout of friends, colleagues, artists and writers and I enjoyed catching up with those I know and meeting those I didn't. In the erudite publishing atmosphere I considerably improved my sketchy grasp of English grammar and am now relishing my new editorial knowledge of ellipses . Manzanilla is served at 11am ...

Saturday, 25 April 2009

March hares and tea-parties - our review of the Budget.

As we know only too well for fiscal calendars April is the end of one year and the start of the next and as such it is the time for the government's annual budget announcement. No surprise then that it is a time associated with mad March hares and April fools. Little seems to have altered this year amidst the global economic meltdown save a remarkable co-incidence with our own schedule at the gallery.

I couldn't help but notice as I passed by the newsstand outside the Ritz a witty post-budget tabloid headline which read Alistair in Wonderland. This made me chuckle as I opened the doors on our own exhibition of artwork for the newly published version of the book to which this alludes. In stark contrast to the fanciful machination of the chancellor, JohnVernon Lord's artwork for this exquisite publication by Artists' Choice Editions is a masterpiece.

Top of his game and deservedly regarded as one of the great illustrators of our generation John's illustrations are truly worth the journey to visit to this exhibition. The elegance of the line drawing is almost musical, and the sophistication of interpretation of such a popular book can only be regarded as unrivalled. Of particular interest is the textual blue highlight of Alice's speech throughout the story, and coupled with the somewhat unusual feature that Alice does not appear until the final page-spread all contribute to this being a throroughly original chapter in the canon of Alices. It goes without saying that we have had a stream of enthused visitors pouring through the gallery doors since our tea-party on the 21st. Perhaps Mr Darling should heed some advice and not try to paint white roses red, or it may be off with his head.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, published by Artists' Choice Editions:
Sold exclusively through The Illustration Cupboard these beautifully crafted books are limited to 280 copies at £68, or the lavishly produced slip-case editions with leather bindings (60 copies only) at £260. These latter rarities feature the endpapers on the casing and include two of John's limited edition engravings of which one is beautifully hand-coloured. All the books are signed and numbered by the artist and would make an ideal special gift or welcome addition to any serious collection.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Cards on the table

McKee Oils
Along with the first rays of spring David McKee's exhibition of landscapes still-lifes and portraits brought the warmth of southern french colour bursting in to Bury St. The skill and ability of David's oil painting is astonishing and has received great favour from a swathe of intrigued visitors, no less than the great colourist herself Bridget Riley who reportedly came by.
Has this focus on fine art prevented David from writing and illustrating his best-selling books? Publisher Klaus Flugge may think so, and is pictured here quietly throttle his leading writer as he signs copies of Elmer.... time to get back to the books maybe!

A Noisy Event

A great pleasure to launch our new year festivities with a noisy start for the launch of the new book written by Sue Eves, The Quiet Woman and the Noisy Dog. Far from barking up the wrong tree the gallery was packed with supporters, enthusiasts and even pet dogs. We wish Sue every success with the new book and in eager anticipation of her next best seller for Andersen Press we can but paws for breath.

Monday, 2 February 2009

The Great Blizzard of ' 09

It is not often that I allow myself the luxury of walking to the gallery on a Monday morning, and less common to find myself shin-deep amongst fresh powder snow in St James's Park. However these are strange days and rare times which future generations will reverently refer to as the' the great blizzard of '09'.
With the inspiration of the great Captain Oates in mind, I was indeed 'sometime' in arriving at my destination. It was nonetheless a very pleasant journey witnessed by a fine array of recently constructed snowmen adorning the snow-cloaked avenues of Hyde Park. I was however slightly disconcerted to be overtaken on no less than two occasions, once by a downhill skier sporting a fine pair of carving skis crossing the cricket pitch in Holland Park, and latterly by a snowboarder who narrowly missed me as I passed by Buckingham Palace.
A somewhat unusual morning.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Tony Hart

It is with great sadness that I read, along with many others of my generation, of the passing of Tony Hart. To many of us growing up in the the 1970's Vision On was more than entertainment, it was inspiration which fired a terrific enthusiam to get up and paint. Who will forget the wonderfully evocative title music to the show?! I recall an old friend of mine was emminetly proud, even as an adult, of her painting having been displayed on The Gallery section of this programme.

Here at Bury St the response we have had to our Morph giclee edition over recent months has been clear testament to the strong, happy and reverant memory of this unique programme and the gently humorous man who inspired and entertained us so well. Nothing has ever matched it and the world is a poorer place for this loss.