Inspired by Brian Wildsmith

By Paul Morton

Just seen the small collection of illustrations by Brian Wildsmith in a current exhibition of his work at the Civic in Barnsley.

Brian Wildsmith's vibrantly delicious colours and clever use of collage were some of the first picture book art work that really made me sit up and take notice. 
It's so satisfying to see these originals again after all these years and realise that they are just as rich and strong, the gouache sings out, and the craft is so apparent.
I've always fancied making a trip to Tokyo to visit the BW museum and wondered if John had done so whilst living there?
I also want to see Eric Carle's museum in Massachusetts, has anyone been there?

Brian Wildsmith was born in Barnsley and went to the same art school as I did.
Jan Pienkowski, for a short while, lived on the same road as me in Barnsley - now surely there are some omens at work here!!!


  1. I believe the museum in Japan was a private venture set up by well-backed die-hard fans, it's actually not in Tokyo but deep in rural Shizuoka, a long way from the city. It was always on my to-do list but sadly I've not had chance to visit, just a little bit too remote!

  2. Lucky you John! I love his work. I believe he now lives in the south of France. He must be getting on. Any chance of a show of his work in London or Paris?

  3. The work that is on show in Barnsley has come from the Illustration Cupboard in London so it'll be worth dropping in there to see some.

  4. A few of us saw the Brian Wildsmith work when it was at the Illustration Cupboard in the summer. The colours are glorious.

    I was also lucky enough to get to the Eric Carle Museum not long after it opened some years ago. There was work on show by various other illustrators including Maurice Sendak, as well as Carle's own stuff. It's a very spacious, light place and great for kids, as there's a big artroom where you can go and make your own collages. Definitely worth a visit for inspiration.


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