Shortly before Christmas I took my 8 year old daughter on a little trip to London from our home in Nottingham (her current best pal, Bob the minion, came along too.)
We visited the rather amazing Ripley’s believe it or not, the Pokemon shop and Hamleys. She was in 8 year old heaven. I was exhausted, but filled up with pre-Christmas magic of London town.
On our trip I managed to sneak in a little first visit to a place I have long wanted to see…
Chris Beetles gallery is one of the most popular commercial art galleries in the UK . It specialises in traditional British watercolour, illustration, cartoons, oil painting and sculpture.
It is the illustrations I am most interested in.
I bought Lise a small Eileen Soper etching from there last year (she was the Famous Five illustrator) It is a marvellous little picture called The Explorer and we just adore it. It captures Lise’s love of reading and dreams of adventures.
I ordered it online however and didn’t have chance to visit the gallery. Oh how many hours have I spent drooling over their art works online. I could not wait to visit.
I have my eye on a rather special Oliver Jeffers drawing and wanted to see it in person.
The gallery is currently hosting an exhibition (sadly over this week) and how marvellous it was! Quentin Blake and Emma Chichester Clark, Mabel Lucie Attwell, E H Shpard and oh so many more. It was like seeing my childhood books just spring to life.
The Beetles gallery was quirky with lots of ups and downs of stairs and pictures everywhere (as you would expect.) It was adorable, an Alice in Wonderland kind of art gallery. No boring clean white space here! Just room after room of amazing art, beautifully displayed and full of character.
As we wondered about our newly bought Pokemon cheeped unstoppably from it’s bag which made us giggle. Lise talked rather loudly and excitedly about the pictures she saw, and somehow it was okay. These pictures were made to be delighted in.
I absolutely adore children’s story books and both my children and I are avid readers. I always have been. I just love to see this art it makes me smile and brings back a feeling of deep familiarity, safety and warmth. probably it brings back a sense of childhood when all was well in the world.
This original Quentin Blake belongs to my children (how lucky!) and it makes me smile every single day
My heart is set on the Oliver Jefferson picture I saw it is a preliminary drawing of a page from The Incredible Book Eating Boy
It is about ‘the trials and tribulations of a boy with a voracious appetite for books.’
My son Frankie is most definitely a book eating boy. I think this sketch would just be perfect for him! The gallery bought it out to show me from a bulging file of glorious Jeffers drawings. I swooned a little.
I am saving up!
I love to buy art that resonates with the people I buy it for. Do you pick art this way?
Do have a browse of Chris Beetles gallery if you love illustration. It is a gallery to make you smile.