The Illustrators this year celebrates many of the best of British illustrators and cartoonists working between the 1870s and the present.
It showcases two of the most seminal magazines of the Victorian period, Punch and Vanity Fair, by including cartoons by some of their legendary contributors, including John Tenniel, George Du Maurier and Leslie Ward (who signed as ‘Spy’).
The strength of Edwardian illustration is exemplified particularly by the highly imaginative pen and ink drawings that Arthur Hughes produced for Trystie’s Quest (1912), an enchanting children’s fantasy novel by Greville Macdonald.
The artists from between the two world wars who are presented here include such much-loved household names as William Heath Robinson, Mabel Lucie Attwell, E H Shepard and H M Bateman.
Images by American animators working with Walt Disney, and by the American humourist, Bud Handelsman, help provide a broader context for the achievements of post-war British illustrators and cartoonists. That homegrown talent features, among other notables, Edward Ardizzone, Eric Fraser, Norman Thelwell and John Glashan.
New works by leading living illustrators and cartoonists confirm that their arts remain vital and delightful. Michael Foreman, for example, continues his close collaboration with Michael Morpurgo with the ecologically aware Carnival of the Animals, while Caroline Magerl provides perhaps her best picture book to date, the mesmerising Piano Fingers. Meanwhile, Peter Brookes, Matt and their fellow cartoonists keep their fingers on the political pulse and, in so doing, provide us with both provocation and much pleasure.
** Please note that there is no catalogue accompanying this year's exhibition**