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Wild About Colour

Thursday 15th June

Celebrating the kaleidoscopic imaginations of Brian Wildsmith and a dozen of today’s best-loved picture book illustrators

Opens: Friday 17 March, 2017

Venue: The Story Museum, Pembroke Street, Oxford, OX1 1BP


In the early Sixties Brian Wildsmith’s prize-winning ABC changed children’s illustration for ever with its vivid use of colour. He went on to create over 80 dazzling and dramatic picture books which have delighted young readers and won admirers across the world.

Now The Story Museum is planning to celebrate Wildsmith’s extraordinary contribution to the world of children’s illustration with a new exhibition for 2017, Wild About Colour. The exhibition, which features over 20 of Wildsmith’s original illustrations, will also showcase the work of a dozen modern illustrators who share his passion for colour and paint.

Ian Beck – Anthony Browne – Emma Chichester Clark – Helen Cooper – Jo Empson – Michael Foreman – Mini Grey – David McKee – Korky Paul – Emily Sutton – Shaun Tan – Jane Rey

Visitors to the exhibition can feast their eyes on jungles and farmyards, rockets and rainbows, then draw a roar, make colour waves and add their own wild card to The Story Museum’s giant picture patchwork.

The exhibition has been guest curated by illustrator Helen Cooper, herself a two-time recipient of the Kate Greenaway medal (The Baby Who Wouldn’t Go To Bed, 1996, Pumpkin Soup, 1998) and a long term admirer of Wildsmith’s work.

Helen Cooper says:

“To be wild about colour you have to be very controlled, constantly juxtaposing and balancing colours against each other. The more colours you use, the longer you have to look and think. It’s a bit like creating a sodoku puzzle and is one of the most interesting parts of art.

When I was one year old I chose Brian Wildsmith’s Nursery Rhymes from the library. My parents bought me my own copy and I still have it. Over the years it has given me much delight, but I also learned from that book how brown fur can be rendered with ten or more different colours rather than just one; how colour can express emotion; and how astonishing it is that many grownups (and the Oxford dictionary) use the phrase ‘sky-blue pink’ to describe a non-existent colour.”

With a gallery full of award-winning artwork, interactive hands on activities and a regular programme of guest illustrators, The Story Museum’s exciting and colourful new exhibition is guaranteed to brighten even the greyest of days this coming year.

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