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Raymond Briggs Honoured at Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft

By Medha Godbole Singh


Memories etched in our hearts and minds never fade. For fans of The Snowman author and illustrator, Raymond Briggs, it is even more so. The Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft in Sussex has made sure that Briggs’ artwork and life will stay immortal. It will be home to “Bloomin’ Brilliant: The Life and Work of Raymond Briggs,” a touring exhibition from the Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration, allowing the public to revisit his legacy. The museum will feature his never-seen-before personal effects and artwork. This is particularly special because the museum is a mile from his home in Westmeston village. The display comprises 100 original artworks, throwing light on his career which spanned six decades.


The showcase also includes unseen artwork for Father Christmas on Holiday, alongside other titles including The Snowman, Fungus the Bogeyman and When the Wind Blows. Father Christmas, one of his most famous books, also gets a place in the exhibition. Many would know that The Snowman, the hit children’s book, was set in the Sussex countryside. The original illustrations featured at the exhibition are courtesy of Raymond Briggs’ Archive and Penguin Random House.


In addition to his books, drawings, typography and page designs from his earliest commissions, his 2004 book, The Puddleman, will also be available for connoisseurs to see. His writing and drawing desk, which he used for more than forty years, makes for another interesting and insightful exhibit. Furthermore, his light and playful response to his fame is reflected through his belongings on display – like the faux blue plaque, which also demonstrates his commitment to practical jokes. All these things offer insight into the human being behind the brilliant artwork.


According to Steph Fuller, the Museum Director, it was his privilege to be invited by Raymond Briggs’ estate to visit his home and select objects for this exhibition. He also added that being in Briggs’ studio surrounded by his notes, photographs and drawing materials made him feel that Briggs could have just stepped out and returned at any moment. He hoped that they could recreate that feeling for the visitors.


This is the first exhibition of its kind since Raymond Briggs’ death in August 2022, and it will be on until 27 October 2024.

 

 

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