The Magic Pencil features over 300 original artworks by 13 of Britain’s most accomplished and celebrated illustrators in print today, selected by Quentin Blake, first incumbent of the post of Children's Laureate.  

Many of the artists included in the show are so familiar as to be household names, Quentin Blake himself, Raymond Briggs, Tony Ross, John Burningham and Michael Foreman. Others represent new and varied ways of approaching book illustration, such as the photographic collages and creative layouts of Sara Fanelli and Lauren Child.  

Britain has a celebrated history of innovative book design and illustration and the works of earlier generations are known and loved worldwide. For many, the illustrations to Alice in Wonderland, Peter Rabbit and Winnie the Pooh were their first introduction to British culture.  Magic Pencil shows how today’s illustrators reflect contemporary concerns with equal force and originality; and how their work incontestably establishes this as a second golden age of British illustration.

Magic Pencil demonstrates the sheer brilliance of contemporary draughtsmanship and how today’s illustrators reflect contemporary concerns through subjects not always associated with children's books.  The pictures on show will certainly reward the attention of those who see them, whether they are adults or children.

Illustrators Featured in the exhibition include:

Angela Barrett, Patrick Benson, Stephen Biesty, Quentin Blake, Raymond Briggs, John Burningham, Emma Chichester Clark, Lauren Child, Sara Fanelli, Michael Foreman, Tony Ross, Posy Simmonds, Charlotte Voake

The exhibition was designed by the architectural practice Cottrell and Vermeulen whom devised a layout whereby each artist is displayed in a dedicated space or ‘room’. Magic Pencil also included a mini-cinema featuring excerpts from films based on books by artists in the exhibition and a fabulous book exhibition.