Saturday, 5 December 2015

The 20th Annual Winter Exhibition 2015 and The Christmas Eve Tree book launch

The Christmas season has got off to a sparkling start with the launch of our 20th Annual Winter Exhibition on the 18th November, followed hot on the heels by the book launch and celebration of The Christmas Eve Tree.

The book has a special connection with Illustrationcupboard Gallery as it was written by the late Delia Huddy, mother of the gallery founder John.  The manuscript had been hidden in a drawer at Walker Books and was only recently re-discovered and published.

The book has also been already translated into a number of languages including 
German, Spanish, French and Japanese!

First edition copies of the book signed by illustrator Emily Sutton available to
 purchase from the gallery, and over the phone for £12.99.  
Below, Emily diligently signs copies of the book for visitors at the book launch last Wednesday.

At the launch there was a wonderful turnout by family, friends and colleagues with a air of happy remembrance, love and affection. A kind and well-appointed address to the packed gallery was given by publisher Caroline Royds, Julia MacRae and long-standing family friend Colonel Lawrence.

Above Daphne of Illustrationcupboard Gallery shows off The Christmas Eve Tree 
in front of original gouache artwork by Emily Sutton. 
This work, along with signed copies of the book, is available for purchase.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Shaken, not stirred: John McLusky's James Bond

On the 28th October the Illustration Gallery was proud to host an evening celebrating the opening of The James Bond Exhibition which runs from 27 October - 14 November.

John McLusky's original artworks for the Daily Express, spanned 18 James Bond adventures, producing a whopping 2,250 comic strips between 1958 - 1983 and we are very fortunate to be able to have some of the original cells on display and for sale, illustrating various scenes from a number of the books.
John McLusky
It was wonderful to be joined for the evening by  Sean McLusky, son of John McLusky.
Sean McLusky
The illustrations first featured in the Daily Express in 1958, and covered Fleming's first James Bond novel: Casino Royale.

Street Banner designed in collaboration with Turnbull & Asser
McLusky's Bond with his square face and chiseled features led to the appointment of Sean Connery as the first ever Bond on screen, in the critically acclaimed Dr No.  One anecdote notes that "Sean Connery, appearing in a theatre production, was sitting in his dressing room with another fellow actor who was reading a copy of the Daily Express.  This gentleman remarked to Sean how he felt that he should play the part of Bond, as he looked remarkably like the face in the strip cartoon."

We were very lucky to have sponsorship from The East London Liquor Company  who were on hand providing Bond-appropriate refreshments, naturally shaken, not stirred:

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the celebration and made the evening such a success; we look forward to welcoming you back to the gallery again soon.

The exhibition is for your eyes only (!) so you must visit the Illustration Cupboard to experience the action for yourself. The exhibition is on until the 14 November.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Packing a punch: Neil Packer's Iliad

For the next two weeks the Gallery will be host to The Iliad illustrated by Neil Packer.  The exhibition opening coincided, as if by accident, with National Poetry Day 2015.  The Iliad is one of the greatest known works of epic poetry by Homer.

Following on from the glowing success of The Odyssey, published by Walker Books in 2012, the electric collaboration of Cross and Packer returns with this fresh version of The Iliad.

Gillian Cross has presented an honest retelling of the story, and is true to the original; opening it up to new and younger audiences.  Over 2500 years on, and the book is still as gripping today as it was for the Greeks and Romans who shared the tale round campfires in the Mediterranean.  Packer's illustrations have quite literally brought new colour to the tale:

Why so sad Achilles?
Packer brings the story to life through brightly coloured, stylized images of gods and men that are at once delicate yet robust; reflecting the strong themes of war, brotherhood and (im)mortality than run through the narrative.
Zeus took out his golden scales
His illustrations enliven the imagination and stir the emotions as the reader delves into this mythical world of gods and men.

This is not the first time that Packer has approached the Classics; having illustrated I, Claudius and Claudius the God for the Folio Society.  It is clear that Packer is au fait with ancient greek interpretations of the tale, obviously influenced by the traditional red and black-figure vase painting on Athenian pottery.

Attic black-figure amphora, Ajax and Achilles playing dice, attributed to Exekias c.540-530BC
Like two wild boars
The posture of Ajax and Hector in Packer's version mimic the Attic black-figure amphora attributed to Exekias.  Packer's illustration of this famous scene is as ground breaking as Exekias' original; using bold colour and lines, but adding a modern twist with his use of foreshortening to add depth to the image.

The use of very fine outline to give a 3D appearance to they key figures is a nod to the etching techniques used on the Greek vase depictions of the same characters.

Smatterings of ancient Greek have also been cleverly worked into the beautiful images that accompany the text, adding a further dimension of historical accuracy to the illustrations and deepen the reading of the tale: Dolios written underneath 'But that's another story' means deceit in Ancient Greek.

But that's another story

Craftsmanship is apparent in Packer's work, and it comes as no surprise that he has also borrowed pattern and colour themes from traditional embroidery of the Epirus region and Byzantine silks:

Bolster cover, mid 18th century, Greece, Epirus ©
Detail of Hector's body was lain on a fine bed

The limited colour palette used in some of his illustrations sets the character action apart from the background, and the use of whites, blues and greys parallels 'household friendly' 18th century interpretation of Greek mythology as represented on Spode's Blue Room Collection:

Diomedes grabbed at the reins

Spode Blue Room Plate - Greek

Packer is very aware of being influenced by the world around him and describes himself as a 'stylistic magpie' as he talks to the Illustration Cupboard about his work.

We for one can't wait to see what takes his inspiration next!  But until then, we look forward to welcoming you to the gallery to view The Iliad, on until the 24 October.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

20 Years of Guess How Much I Love You

Anita Jeram is a British institution, known for her ability to capture the anthropomorphic nature of the farmyard and fluffy, that entices the whole family.

We are thrilled to host Anita Jeram celebrates 20 years of Guess How Much I Love You, from 5 August – 5 September 2015.  Anita has released the last remaining artwork from her archive to celebrate 20 years of this world-famous book.

The exhibition is now in its final week, and judging by the numbers of visitors the IllustrationCupboard has received during that time, Guess How Much I Love You has an allure that is still as strong today as it was when Jeram first penned the two Nutbrown Hares 20 years ago.  Thank you to all those who have visited the gallery for the exhibition, and tweeted and called with interest.

It’s amazing how the relationship of two hares can be shown so clearly through the uncluttered drawings that Jeram presents in her books.  The preliminary drawings with their flowing black lines are as striking as the full colour originals that fill the pages of the Guess How Much I Love You books, show off Jeram’s skill with watercolours.

Jeram has also been flexing her talents in new and exciting ways, and we are proud to be able to showcase a number of rabbit, hare and bunny explorations that see Jeram using different techniques such as monoprint:


and even turned her hand at silk painting, as demonstrated by this beautiful handmade silk scarf:

All of which give a different feel and demonstrate the breadth of her artistic skills.  

There is no doubt that her collaboration with writer Sam McBratney is a fruitful one that we hope will continue for many years to come.  Thank you Anita for sharing How Much I Love You with us!

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Brian Wildsmith's Dazzling World of Illustration

We were delighted to celebrate the artwork of Brian Wildsmith last month in the exhibition Brian Wildsmith's Dazzling World of Illustration, 10 June - 1 July 2015. It was wonderful to be joined for the opening reception by Rebecca Wildsmith, one of Brian's daughters.

Information about the exhibition and photographs of the artwork below and on our website:
As Brian Wildsmith celebrated his 85th birthday earlier this year Illustrationcupboard Gallery takes the opportunity to celebrate one of the greatest and most influential illustrators of the modern era. 
Presenting a unique display of previously un-exhibited original artwork reflecting his more than fifty years as a world-class author and illustrator. This impressive exhibition will feature thirty original paintings, all available for purchase. Artwork from his studio in France from fourteen different books will be on show, with highlights including double page spreads from The Little Wood Duck and The Owl and Woodpecker – two of his best known illustrated books. With much of his work now held in a museum, little remains available for the collector to obtain and this event provides a rare opportunity to do so. Prices for artwork will start at £450 as well as a selection of Brian’s signed books on sale too, entrance to the exhibition is free. In 1962, Brian Wildsmith’s ABC broke the mould of picture books with its passionate and powerful use of colour, and the following year it won the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal. Since then Brian's books have continued to enchant and delight children and adults throughout the world with a dazzling visual array of design and colour. Brian Wildsmith was born in 1930 and brought up in the mining village of Penistone, near Sheffield. He was gifted in music and art, and won a scholarship to the Slade School of Fine Art. With a life-time of painting and illustration production Brian has created a truly impressive oeuvre of work, yet despite world-wide popularity it has often been difficult to view this and until recently it has only been seen by visiting the Brian Wildsmith Museum of Art near Tokyo - his last travelling exhibition in Japan attracted over 1.5 million visitors. However, Brian’s first UK exhibition here at Illustrationcupboard Gallery in 2010 was a major public success. We are therefore wholly delighted to re-visit Brian’s magical world with a second such event this summer. 

Original published artwork from various books including The Owl and The WoodpeckerHunter and his DogThe Little Wood DuckPelican amongst others

We also have a selection of first edition signed books by Brian, which can be found online and in our gallery. 

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the celebration. More of Brian's work, including original artwork from Tales from the Arabian Nights will be included in our upcoming Summer Exhibition, 15 July - 1 August 2015. 

Chris Riddell - UK Children's Laureate

Chris Riddell hosting children's illustration competition at Ireland's Story Fesitival in April

We are, as ever, delighted to represent Chris Riddell and his new title as UK Children's Laureate 2015 - 17. We have signed books and original artwork by Chris Riddell which can be viewed online ( and here in the gallery (22 Bury Street, St. James's, London, SW1Y 6AL) 

In June, Chris told The Guardian newspaper “I want to bring drawing back to the basics, make it about the pleasure that it can afford and remove the notion that it’s some kind of precious or difficult activity. It’s another way of telling a story.”

Here are selection of Chris's brilliant artworks published in Coraline, written by Neil Gaiman and published by Bloomsbury 2012.


10th Anniversary edition slipcase book Coraline signed by Chris Riddell and Neil Gaiman, £25

We also celebrate Chris Riddell as a political cartoonist and have some brilliant original pen and ink drawings which have been published in The Observer newspaper. 

Congratulations Chris! 

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Oliver Jeffers popped by to say hello (and sign a lot of books)

As the Celebrating Ten Years of Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers exhibition comes to a close (ending 6 June 2015, there's still time to see it!) we thank all those who have visited and Oliver himself for coming over from the USA. We had a brilliant evening to celebrate the show with Oliver. We still have some signed books available to purchase, all at cover price, including our favourite Lost and Found (£12.99). We also have the Lost and Found anniversary silk screen edition on sale alongside some bespoke original artwork in honour of the Lost and Found anniversary, especially created by Oliver for the exhibition. (all of which can be viewed:

Oliver signing a book for no less than Axel Scheffler!

Celebrating Ten Years of Lost and Found
6 May - 6 June 2015

Oliver Jeffers and Illustrationcupboard Gallery are delighted to present an exhibition of original artwork celebrating ten years of Lost and Found (HarperCollins, 2005). As one of the leading contemporary illustrators working today, Oliver Jeffers needs little introduction and his best selling picture books have become a world wide sensation. Lost and Found has won over fifty awards including the NestlĂ© Smarties Book Prize Gold Award, 2006, and as the second book in its series it has enchanted millions as well as being turned into a BAFTA Award winning short animated film. 

This month long exhibition will show a selection of the superb published Lost and Found artwork, with a further seven works, especially created for this event, offered for purchase. Based on the original books, these full colour paintings and line drawings provide the collector with a rare opportunity to acquire original artwork, a majority of which Oliver now produces digitally. 

We also present the Lost and Found Anniversary Silkscreen, this short-run edition created by Oliver and hand-printed by Coriander Press is unique to the gallery and limited to only 99, each of which is signed and numbered by the artist. Signed books will also be available to purchase at the gallery and our online bookshop.

Lost and Found anniversary silk screen, edition of 99 only, signed and numbered by Oliver Jeffers

Thank you Oliver, it has been book-eatingly good!