Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Escaping to Wonderland

Escape to Wonderland at The Lightbox:
As we wave farewell to the sleepy days of summer, we usher in an exciting new term with fresh events and exhibitions. To complement the Indian Summer congratulations are due to The Lightbox, a leading regional public art gallery that has recently opened its extensive, comprehensive and thoroughly enjoyable exhibition of the history of picture book illustration.
Embracing work from the great names of the nineteenth century to many of our modern and contemporary classic books it includes many of our very own Illustrationcupboard artists, and offers a definite overview of the achievements to be found in this field of artistic and literary accomplishment. Director Marilyn Scott and her team have pulled together a broad range of original artwork appealling to both collectors as well as families in general. There is also an extensive range of workshops, illustrators' lectures, book signings and other events for which tickets are going fast! Entrance to the exhibition is free, and lunch at the excellent gallery cafe to be heartily recommended. For more details visit the website at www.thelightbox.org.uk and escape off to Wonderland ...

Thursday, 27 May 2010

A Radio 4 Sunday Drama

A sunny Sunday afternoon was the perfect time, as I purred along the slow lane of the M4, to sink in to the lulling dramatisation of Paul Gallico's The Snow Goose on Radio 4. Congratulations to Michael Morpurgo for bringing this to our attention and for BBC on their gripping dramatisation. Was it a misty eye that caused me to blink, or just the wipers on my antiquated motorcar? Either way this heart-rending tale of love and heroism rescued motoroway from monotony.

As the story unfurled I pictured in my mind's eye Angela Barrett's wonderful illustrations on the wall's of our gallery, which added much to my enjoyment. The ensuing Open Book discussion and interviews which followed were lively with comment and anedotes from Mariella Frostrup, Michae Morpurgo and Elizabeth Jane Howard. Still to be found on BBC iplayer, I recommend an evening with the wireless by the fireside.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Now the dust has settled ...

Oddly enough there are parallels to be drawn between the recent eruption of Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland and the reception here for Brian Wildsmith, who reached the venerable age of 80 this year. Besides the outpouring of good wishes from a record crowd of attendees for Brian and his paintings, on show in Britain for the very first time, the guests were buoyed up by a pyroclastic flow of bubbly and erupted into a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday both in and outside the gallery bringing to a halt pedestrian travel on Bury St. Brian's ensuing heartfelt words gave testament to his fifty years with Oxford University Press whom he described as like family.
Subsequently marooned for some days on the rougher side of St James's he eventually forwent his flight back to the Mediterranean and sprang aboard the Eurostar to resume his self-styled 'hermetic life' in the south. We are sorry to see him go. His Yorkshire charm and good humour enchanted so many, as have his colourfully resonant paintings. We raise a glass and wish him a swift bon retour, less so his Nordic counterpart.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

The devil makes work ...

In the words of the much-loved Mole,' Hang spring-cleaning'. In a move that can only be described as from the sublime to the ridiculous the wintry day of February were brushed aside in a fit of new-year enthusiasm for some predictive refurbishment. With renewed zeal I donned the ear muffs and mask, and roared in to action with an antiquated sanding machine more akin to my grandfather's petrol-fired lawn mower in an attempt to revitalise the elegant but tired parquet floor. Apart from nearly killing the patron it almost proved to be the sonic decimation of St James's, and after two days of what was later described a 'barking' enthusiasm I was gently persuaded to hand over to someone who knew what they were doing. The gallery is now re-sanded to perfection and re-painted to precision and awaits the many visitors we hope will attend our exciting array of exhibits and events in 2010. Earmuffs are entirely optional.

Cambridge School of Art Degree Show 2010

Cambridge School of Art MA Degree Show:
The Illustration Cupboard was delighted once again to host the impressive annual Master of Arts degree show for the students from Anglia Ruskin. This leading course headed by Martin Salisbury attracts applicants worldwide. This year's list was no less impressive with students from the far east, South America and all over Europe showing their degree portfolios at this hugely fascinating exhibition of new work. Thirty graduating MA students exhibited, and a buzzing evening reception was attended by the great and the good of British publishing. Our hearty congratulations to Nadia Shireen (work shown here) who had offers from a number of leading houses and has accepted a two book deal with Jonathan Cape. Watch this space ... you saw it here first!