The Ladybird Life of Dickens: an illustrated adventure
A special exhibition of original illustrations by John Kenney for the 1965 Ladybird life of Dickens.
30th November 2016 to 23rd April 2017
Ladybird Books produced its gloriously illustrated life of Dickens during its golden age of making editions for children. The book, An Adventure in History: Charles Dickens, represents the best of what made Ladybird such a well-loved household name, trusted to tell great tales or explain how the world works. It was made by the publisher’s ‘dream team’, artist John Kenney (1911-1972) and writer Lawrence du Garde Peach (1890-1974).
This exhibition presents Kenney’s original gouache-on-board illustrations alongside Peach’s words. Each shows an important scene from Dickens’s life in full colour with vivid characters and dynamic action. Kenney’s keen sense of historic detail is filtered by the flamboyant taste of his era: this is Victorian England, 1960s style.
With thanks to the Ladybird Archive and the University of Reading Special Collections for the loan of John Kenney’s original artworks.
The Museum’s winter season programme is supported by the generous sponsorship of Hallett Independent, specialist insurance brokers to the fine art and heritage sectors.