Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Meet the Team!

Here at the Illustrationcupboard gallery we have a small but perfectly formed team working every day behind the scenes. You may have met some of us before at an exhibition or event, or perhaps spoken to us on the phone. Maybe you've even joined us for a cup of tea and a slice of cake on a Friday! Here we'd like to introduce you to our gallery family and tell you a little bit about why the Illustrationcupboard is such a special place to work!


Meet John
Managing Partner



"I started Illustrationcupboard in the spare bedroom of my sister’s flat in 1995 with only a desk and a telephone,  when there was little interest in collecting contemporary book illustration artwork. Over twenty years on I am pleased to regularly show the finest artwork in this field to a broad international collecting audience from our three floor art gallery in St James's, Mayfair. I often think how lucky I am to have the opportunity to see this original work when so many thousands of others see only the printed page."



Meet Jessica
Framing and Curation



What do you do at Illustrationcupboard?
I keep track of the artwork, mount, frame and hang all of the exhibitions. 

Which illustrator’s work would you love to own?
Neil Packer’s 'Look at your room Nausicaa!' published in The Odyssey

What do you love most about your job?
Getting to work so closely with such incredible artists.

Favourite Illustrationcupboard moment?
One of many – Babette Cole prancing round the gallery with bunny ears for James and the Giggleberries and Babette dressed up as Princess Smartypants for the celebration of 30 years of Princess Smartypants in September 2016.

What was your favourite book as a child?
Not Now Bernard’ by David McKee


Meet Daphne
Deputy Gallery Manager




What do you do at Illustrationcupboard?
Everything!

Which illustrator’s work would you love to own?
Either something by John Vernon Lord or Angela Barrett.

What do you love most about your job?
I love getting to see all of the different artwork and having contact with so many artists. Everyone here is really friendly - even the postman!

Favourite Illustrationcupboard moment?
Having lunch with Jan Pienkowski at his house and looking through all his artwork - it was like an art museum! One of the great benefits of this job is occasionally getting to meet great artists in their studios and homes, it's not a chance most people would ever have so I really appreciate it.

What was your favourite book as a child?
Red Rose, White Rose illustrated by Gustav Tenggren.

Meet Molly
Marketing




What do you do at Illustrationcupboard?
I help people to discover the gallery and spread the word about our upcoming exhibitions.

Which illustrator’s work would you love to own?
Definitely something by Shaun Tan. His work is completely breathtaking, it stops me in my tracks every time I walk past it. 

What do you love most about your job?
Getting to meet some of the most talented artists working today and seeing the original illustrations that I grew up with as a child.

Favourite Illustrationcupboard moment?
Having tea and biscuits with the amazing David McKee whilst looking through his original paintings of Elmer the elephant!

What was your favourite book as a child?
Would have to be either The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr or Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.


Meet Anne
Sales and Events


What do you do at Illustrationcupboard?
I run the gallery on Saturdays and help out with private views.

Which illustrator’s work would you love to own?
I would love to own an original Brian Wildsmith, as I think his colours are just fantastic. I love the detail in his pictures that you can only see close-up in the flesh, which don't always come across when you see the images in his books.

What do you love most about your job?
I love that no two Saturdays are the same - sometimes it is quiet so I get on with updating our contact database, and then other times it can be very loud with lots of families getting excited about artwork that they have seen in books they read growing up.  

Favourite Illustrationcupboard moment?
This is a difficult one - there have been so many!  Getting to meet the artists is always a wonderful experience.  It was always a pleasure to host an event for Babette Cole, who was a ball of fun, and a huge personality.  Meeting Shaun Tan was also pretty fantastic, as he doesn't come over to the UK very often, but I love all of the artists that we get to work with; they are all so talented!

What was your favourite book as a child?
Each Peach Pear Plum, written by Allan Ahlberg and illustrated by Janet Ahlberg.  Apparently, when I was very small, my mother took me to the local library where they were having a book reading, and I stood up and recited the whole thing!  I even had a dolly called Baby Bunting.


Meet Jenny
Administration



What do you do at Illustrationcupboard?
I'm the admin assistant at the gallery.

Which illustrator’s work would you love to own?
I would love to own a Brian Wildsmith

What do you love most about your job?
I love working so closely with all this art – being able to have a wander round the gallery and have a good, long look whenever it’s quiet. I also love finding hidden gems down in the basement archives that we’d forgotten about!

Favourite Illustrationcupboard moment?
I really enjoy meeting the illustrators, they are always so lovely!

What was your favourite book as a child?
I was a big fan of Peace At Last by Jill Murphy.


Meet Stella
Accounts


What do you do at Illustrationcupboard?
I make sure John stays in line! ... and I keep the books.

Which illustrator’s work would you love to own?
I'd love to own something by either John Vernon Lord or Shaun Tan.

What do you love most about your job?
Working with such nice people.

Favourite Illustrationcupboard moment?
Having dinner with Shaun Tan when he came over from Australia.

What was your favourite book as a child?
It's hard to pick a favourite from my childhood, but my favourite to read to my child now would have to be either Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak or Room on a Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.


We love nothing more than meeting visitors and chatting about the wonderful illustrators we work with, so please come and say hello next time you're in the gallery. If you have any questions about any of the artwork we're always happy to help. We look forward to seeing you soon! 

Discover more at www.illustrationcupboard.com
Get in touch at gallery@illustrationcupboard.com
Drop us a line at 0207 976 1727

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

The story behind the Storyteller Chair

Ahead of the opening of our Brambly Hedge exhibition this spring, we caught up with Jacqui Lyons, Partner of both Illustrationcupboard and RhubarbLondon, to find out the story behind the unique Brambly Hedge Storyteller Chair. Full of magical secrets and surprises, the chair will be on show for the first time at the launch of the Brambly Hedge exhibition opening on 10th May. In this exclusive blog post Jacqui tells us how Illustrationcupboard first began, about her involvement in the company and how collaboration and creativity led to one of the most unique chairs you will ever see.

Words by Jacqui Lyons:

In November, 1995, when I first met John Huddy, founder of the Illustrationcupboard gallery, he was holding an exhibition in a small gallery in Connaught Village, London. I was on my way to my local coffee shop, when I spotted a wonderful illustration by Graham Oakley in the window of what I thought was an abstract art gallery.  Curious, I went in and spoke to John, who explained that he was renting the gallery for two weeks.  I asked about the Graham Oakley piece which was from The Church Mice, and bought it for a client of mine.  When I called in the next day to pay for it, I took a closer look at all the wonderful illustrations John was selling, which immediately impressed me.  I also believed that there was a synergy between John’s Illustration Cupboard and my company, Marjacq Scripts Ltd, a successful literary agency I had founded with my late business partner, George Markstein in 1983, so I suggested that John and I formed Illustration Cupboard LLP, which led to the gallery in Bury Street. 

Illustration from the Church Mice Take a Break by Graham Oakley

I was right about the synergy: the Graham Oakley illustration I had bought which I gave to my client was a picture from his most favourite childhood book and he was absolutely thrilled.  Marjacq Scripts then went on to represent Graham Oakley and negotiated the re-publication of three of his famous Church Mice books.

Something similar happened to me in July, 2015 when I noticed the most unusual and, to me, surrealistic chair in the window of a shop in Central London.  I was immediately arrested by the chair because, although it was a typical small Victorian chair, it was upholstered in a tweed jacket, complete with leather elbow patches and pheasant feathers.  It was a piece of art or a character, rather than just a chair.  Once again, I was fascinated - I wanted to know more.

After weeks of research, I eventually tracked down Shaun Brownell, the creator of the chair and bought it.  When Shaun came to deliver the chair, I discovered that he had a website which was selling the chairs.  Personally, I felt that they demanded a wider audience – they were so unusual and so very beautifully made.  So, I suggested that Shaun and I form a new partnership to promote and market his wonderful pieces, which we called RhubarbLondon

Last year, John mentioned to me that he would be holding a major Brambly Hedge exhibition at the Illustrationcupboard gallery in the spring and showed me some of the Brambly Hedge books. I felt that the delightful illustrations would make a wonderful fabric for a very special chair – The Brambly Hedge Storyteller Chair.  Liz Barklem (Jill Barklem's daughter) kindly gave permission for this concept to be realised and it will be seen for the first time at Illustrationcupboard’s Brambly Hedge exhibition launch in May.



This magical Brambly Hedge Storyteller children’s chair is a handmade two-thirds sized version of an adult wing chair.   Whilst sitting in the chair, the child can either read, play or listen to the Brambly Hedge Audio CD via the self-contained, remotely controlled portable sound system through the stereo speakers colour coded and fitted to the back of the chair. 

The front arms and legs of the chair have been intricately hand carved from ancient oak to create the mystical tree trunk world of Brambly Hedge with subtle illumination glowing through the delicate windows and front door.  Aged Chestnut legs support the rear of the piece. Lovingly upholstered in the traditional Brambly Hedge Field specially printed fabric and accentuated with nut brown leather piped detail.


The chair is operated by a fully rechargeable 12v battery supply capable of powering the chair for at least 90 minutes on full charge.  The CD player, charging socket and On/Off switch are all neatly concealed behind a flap to side of the chair.

The Brambly Hedge Storyteller chair is the realisation of my enthusiasm and commitment to being a partner of Illustrationcupboard and RhubarbLondon.  If ever there was a synergy between two businesses, then this is the result. 

The Brambly Hedge exhibition opens at the Illustrationcupboard Gallery on 10th May and runs until 3rd June. This major solo exhibition will showcase a collection of Jill Barklem’s original artwork from the much-loved Brambly Hedge books that has never before been exhibited in the UK or made available for sale. Find out more at www.illustrationcupboard.com