On the 24th of January a new exhibition will be opening, celebrating the design of Ladybird Books through ‘the golden years’ of the 50s, 60s and early 70s.
The exhibition will be held at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea and opens on the 24th January 2015. It will run until 10th May. The exhibition organisers have decided to divide the exhibits into ‘themes’ (rather than merely follow chronology) and there will be lots of original Ladybird artwork on display, illustrating these themes. I know that Douglas Keen’s daughters have generously contributed various artifacts, including the lovely ‘prototype bird book’ that you may have seen discussed on the BBC4 Timeshift documentary.
The idea for the exhibition was prompted by the soon-to-be-published book (also called “Ladybird by Design”) written by Lawrence Zeegen, who is Dean of the School Design at the London College of Communication. This book will be published in early March. I hadn’t heard of Lawrence before this project and haven’t met him yet – but fingers-crossed the book will provide useful middle-ground between the attractive flossiness of ‘Boys and Girls’ and the worthy wordiness of ‘The Ladybird Story’
I’ve been involved in a minor (if time-consuming) way – providing a little info and a lot of pictures for the book (assuming they get used). For the exhibition I’m loaning a stack of books – around 600. I’ve picked out nice copies so, although I’m sure the DLWP team have effective processes for ensuring that loans are returned to their owner in the same condition as they went out, I’ll be pleased when they’re safe home again – something every collector will understand!
I’m hoping to get to the opening on the 24th January and I’ve been asked to give some sort of talk – I think on my interest in Ladybird Books – the following month: Saturday 14 February 2pm
Anyway, I’ll keep you posted but try to get down there if you can – entrance is free and the DLWP is a great place to visit anyway. If we’ve ‘met’ via this blog, website or Twitter it would be lovely to meet you in person . People who have read this blog for a long time may recall that, by coincidence, the DLWP was where I was filmed presenting some Ladybird Books at a special ‘Vintage’ edition of the Antiques Roadshow about 10 years ago. (10 years??)
Perhaps one day there will be an exhibition on Ladybird Books put on north of the Watford Gap … but that’s another story.