The first and only permanent exhibition of Ladybird Books artwork launched last week at The University of Reading.  The gallery, located within the University’s newly-refurbished Museum of Rural English Life (MERL), draws upon an archive of more than 20,000 illustrations.

The Ladybird Gallery

Special guests Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris – bestselling authors of the Ladybirds for Grown Ups series attended the public launch and were invited to speak on a guest panel alongside Penguin Random House’s own Ladybird Creative Director Ronnie Fairweather and Commercial Curator Sara Glenn.

Ladybird Books artwork

Ronnie Fairweather, Creative Director Brand and Merchandise at Penguin Ventures said:

“The team at Reading University has taken such loving care of the Ladybird Archive for over 15 years so we were delighted that they have managed to secure this wonderful gallery and permanent exhibition space for the collection which is of such national importance. ”

On 10th March, the Ladybird Gallery will host a VIP launch to coincide with the release of a new Ladybird book written by HRH The Prince of Wales, Climate Change, the first book in a new series titled Ladybird Experts published by Michael Joseph.  Co-authored by Prince Charles, who is also a patron of the MERLClimate Change explains the changes we may see in the world around us if global temperatures continue to rise.   New artwork by Ruth Palmer – the first illustrations to be commissioned by Penguin Random House in this format for more than 40 years – will be on display, as well as the older artwork that inspired them.

Kate Arnold-Forster, director of the MERL, said: “We are tremendously proud to have been the home of the Ladybird Archive for over 15 years. Now we have the chance to allow any and all fans of Ladybird the chance to see a range of original artworks along with a striking ‘wall of books’ in our dedicated gallery within the Museum of English Rural Life.

“It is a happy coincidence that we can launch the gallery with a display drawn from a new Ladybird book written by the Museum’s Patron, HRH The Prince of Wales. That this also deals with a subject that is important to all our futures shows how far Ladybird has come from its humble beginnings just over a century ago.”

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