Briggs and the brilliant House of Illustration

Hampshire Cultural Trust is thrilled to announce that it will be the first venue to host Raymond Briggs: A Retrospective at The Gallery, Winchester Discovery Centre with tickets going on sale very soon!

Top of the Plant page layout, Jim and the Beanstalk © Raymond Briggs, 1970

On tour from House of Illustration and due to open in Winchester on 17 May, we wanted to share some history on this wonderful organisation and take a sneak-peak at the brilliant exhibition they have created.

Founded by Sir Quentin Blake in 2014, House of Illustration is the UK’s centre for illustration. They explore the art of illustration, both past and present, including animation, comic books, political cartoons, fashion design and more, as well as empowering people of all ages to create new work. Check out their website for online courses and events, archive highlights, features on artists, cool Q&A's and fantastic family resources.

Located in London, House of Illustration (HOI) are currently developing New River Head, a historic industrial site in Islington. In late 2022, the site will open as the Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration, the world’s largest public arts space dedicated to illustration in all its forms.

The Gallery at Winchester Discovery Centre has had the great pleasure of hosting two previous exhibitions from House of Illustration: What Are You Like? (2013) and Gerald Scarfe: Stage and Screen (2018). We loved these exhibitions and so did you, so we are extra excited to be working with them again!

Remarkably, Raymond Briggs: A Retrospective is the first ever exhibition dedicated to Raymond Briggs. Over his long career, the author-illustrator has brought us some of the most popular and influential children’s books and graphic novels ever published, including The Mother Goose Treasury (1966), Fungus the Bogeyman (1977), When the Wind Blows (1982), The Bear (1994) and Ug: Boy Genius of the Stone Age (2001).

Ug - Boy Genius of the Stone Age cover © Raymond Briggs, 2001

In this long-awaited retrospective, we’ll show never-before-seen material from Briggs’ own personal archive. With original artwork from iconic publications, including Father Christmas (1973), the poignant and ever-popular The Snowman (1980) and pioneering graphic novel Ethel & Ernest (1998), the exhibition celebrates Briggs as an exceptional draughtsman, typographer, storyteller and innovator.

VE Day, Ethel and Ernest © Raymond Briggs, 1998

With more than 30 pages from books and publications, Raymond Briggs: A Retrospective also offers insights into his ability to tackle a broad variety of subjects, as the exhibition’s co-curator, Katie McCurrach from House of Illustration, explains: “Humorous, sensitive and sometimes subversive, Raymond Briggs’ powerful visual stories have depicted a range of universal themes – from family and loss to politics and class – and continue to entertain, challenge and inspire readers across the world. We are delighted to be able to show original artwork from Briggs’ 50-year career to visitors, many pieces for the very first time.

The Elephant and the Bad Baby illustration © text Elfrida Vipont Foulds, illustrations Raymond Briggs, 1969

Exhibition co-curator, Nicolette Jones, adds: “Raymond Briggs’ characters, including the first working-class Father Christmas, a punk bogeyman, a flying snowman and his own parents, Ethel and Ernest, are familiar to us all. This exhibition traces their evolution, the development of Briggs’ style and craft and the interconnectedness of all his books, with their recurrent themes, values and images. It also displays work that is not so widely known.”

Copies of Nicolette’s book to accompany the exhibition will be on sale and available for pre-order with your ticket.

Tickets for the exhibition go on sale soon, with doors opening from 17 May 2021. We look forward to seeing you there!


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Hampshire Cultural Trust

From museums to galleries to arts centres, we manage and support 23 attractions across the county, welcoming over 740,000 people each year. Our charitable purpose is changing lives through culture.
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