A Judith Kerr Retrospective at Wolverhampton Art Gallery

posted in: Judith Kerr | 20

Original artwork from The Tiger Who Came to Tea and other books by Judith Kerr are on display at this retrospective we were lucky enough to visit at the start of the holidays.

The first section of the exhibition features several of Judith Kerr’s early childhood drawings, which Kerr’s mother carefully brought with the family on their flight from Germany in the 1930s. It’s amazing that they’ve survived.

A picture by Kerr, aged 9, titled Fairground at Harvest Festival

This part of exhibition in fact explores Kerr’s childhood and her experiences of having to escape Germany as Hitler came to power. We read about how it felt for Kerr to be a refugee in Switzerland, then France before finally settling in London in 1936.

Our favourite corner in the exhibition space was that inhabited by the life-size tiger in Sophie’s kitchen.

The kids adored this role play area. My only slight sadness was there were no empty beer bottles!

In the next part of the exhibtion we had lots of fun curling up and reading inside Mog’s cosy basket.

Something new I learned from the exhibition is that Kerr has designed wallpaper and fabrics.

Textile design by Judith Kerr, 1950s
Wallpaper designed by Kerr

We had a great day quite literally playing by the book: I can highly recommend this exhibition if you’re anywhere near the West Midlands. It runs till 29 September and is free. You can find full details here.

20 Responses

  1. So cool! Here in Brasil we can´t touch nothing when the artist shows his/hers work! The experience of playing with the caracters, and in the places that you have read are amazing for the kids! SO COOL! Wish we had something like this here, too!

    PS. Kids returned to school last week, so I haven´t had much time to translate the books I want to send you yet! But I´m working on them! 🙂
    gisele f barcellos recently posted..BABUXA

    • Hi Gisele, this exhibition is one created by Seven Stories, a museum here in the UK dedicated to children’s literature – and this weekend I’m going for the first time! I’m so excited! Given how they produced this exhibition, I have high hopes for the main museum.

  2. Loved reading this post. We haven’t yet come across The Tiger Who Came to Tea, (have to look out for the book.) but we have loved the autobiographical When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. This is a post A will be able to relate to very well.
    sandhya recently posted..Sports, feminism and tradition…

    • hi Sandhya, The Tiger who came to Tea was Kerr’s very first book to be published. Here in the UK it’s a childhood classic – so much so that there are big theatre shows of it as well!

  3. Yes, I have heard of it from Choxbox. Maybe I should ask her to search for it in her store of books.
    sandhya recently posted..Sports, feminism and tradition…

  4. SOOOO Jealous! Loved that fairground pic, reminded me of another favourite author-illustrator, David McKee. Kerr can pretty much write a blank cheque for impressing my daughter (and me, of course). Looks like an absolutely wonderful museum and such a great idea for an exhibition.

    The moral here is “always keep your kids drawings, they might be the next Judith Kerr or David McKee :)”
    ReadItDaddy recently posted..The Treasure Thief by Beatrice Rodriguez (Gecko Press)

    • Yes, ReadItDaddy the gallery is super kid friendly, not least because it has a GREAT cafe! And yes too to keeping drawings – but given the box loads we have in the box I think I might be going over the top a little!

  5. Sandhya, if she can easily lay her hands on it, yes do ask Choxbox for it. In fact, ask her to put on a tea party for you and A with it as the theme! 😉

  6. Oh I am s thrilled you will see Seven Stories.

    This touring exhibition has introduced so many families to the museum and Judith in particular (her archive is housed with them).

    I can’t wait to hear what you think of it!

  7. Ah yes Sara, it’s been a trip I’ve been wanting to make ever since it opened, so just hope the flooding in Newcastle subsides by the weekend!
    Zoe recently posted..A Judith Kerr Retrospective at Wolverhampton Art Gallery

  8. Oh I may just have to make a special trip to see the paternal grandparents in Knowle. That picture of tea with the Tiger is priceless. Just booked tickets to see the theatre show here in London – it’s on offer as part of kids’ free theatre month. Interestingly E loves the audio recording of this book as much as the real thing. Thanks for this post! p.s I would love some of that wall paper.
    Mrs Brown recently posted..Wild Rumpus, Minneapolis MN, USA

  9. Thanks for the tip, Zoe! Will do just that! 🙂
    sandhya recently posted..Sports, feminism and tradition…

  10. Mrs Brown, sounds like a good plan – the exhibition isn’t huge (2 large rooms), but it is really well done, and the rest of the museum, whilst not a British Museum, is super kid friendly.
    Zoe recently posted..A Judith Kerr Retrospective at Wolverhampton Art Gallery

  11. BRILLIANT idea Zoe!

    Sandhya we should regularly ask Zoe for such ideas! Yes we do have it, so its party time (except we will not have the beer!)

  12. Ok choxbox, Sandhya, I NEED photos! 🙂
    Zoe recently posted..A Judith Kerr Retrospective at Wolverhampton Art Gallery

  13. We saw the theatre show a couple of years ago and it is great. Love the look of this exhibition. I am after one of those school desks too!
    Library Mice recently posted..Count!

  14. Wow Zoe, thank you for a great post in which I disocver the fab looking exhibition in Wolverhampton. Might have to make a trip very soon, with a quick stop at David Austin Roses in Wolverhampton, then back via Sheffield to see an old friend. Then in the comments I find out about Seven Stories, about the same distnace away in the opposite direction but so exciting. Very disappointed to have missed out on the Cave Baby Messy Play :(. But we might be back from hols intime for The Gruffalo events. Right, wheres my diary, I need to plan.
    rachel slater recently posted..Share a book #4

  15. Thank you so much for alerting us to this. I’d love to go and will have to look into it as she’s one of our all-time favourites. It looks like an exciting exhibition (many thanks for the great photos) and full of lovely things to see and do.
    Sam recently posted..Is it really true? Baffling book blurbs

  16. Just found another cave baby messy play, and booked. Superb…I am so excited, Thanks again Zoe
    rachel slater recently posted..Share a book #4

  17. Thanks Rachel, Sam and Library Mice – do go see the exhibition if you can, it’s on all summer hols. Rachel- how exciting about the messy play – the photos I saw of it redefined messy play I thought!!
    Zoe recently posted..A triumphant trio of boy-friendly books

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