News Ladybird gallery

Published on February 9th, 2017 | by Niall Norbury

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University of Reading to launch Ladybird Books Gallery

The first and only permanent exhibition of Ladybird Books artwork will be launched at the University of Reading, to coincide with the release of a new book penned by HRH The Prince of Wales.

The gallery, located within the University’s newly-refurbished Museum of Rural English Life (MERL), contains more than 20,000 illustrations from the University’s exhaustive Ladybird Book archives.

In addition to the thousands of existing illustrations, the gallery will include artwork from the newest addition to the Ladybird Books for Grown-ups series – Climate Change, co-authored by Prince Charles, who is also a patron of the MERL.

The newest addition to the Ladybird Books for Grown-ups series explains the changes we may see in the world around us if global temperatures continue to rise. Reading climate scientist Professor Nigel Arnell was one of a small number of experts who reviewed the book before its release on 26 January.

The Ladybird archive launch will feature a display of the new artwork by Ruth Palmer – the first illustrations to be commissioned by publisher Penguin Random House for more than 40 years – as well as the older artwork that inspired them.

The launch will also be marked by a public celebration as part of the Museum’s new extended evening opening on 23 February 2017, with special guests Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris – bestselling authors of the Ladybirds for Grown Ups series. They will be joined by leading Ladybird expert Helen Day, Ladybird Creative Director Ronnie Fairweather and Curator Sara Glenn.

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.”

The display will run from 11 March to 2 July 2017 and entry is free.


About the Author

is the Editor and Creator of Alt Reading. He works in the voluntary sector supporting charities and community groups in Reading.



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