What would happen if you asked different experts to look at a single illustration of rural life? This exhibition does precisely that. It focuses on a small watercolour by the artist Charles Tunnicliffe. This was one of many artworks created by him for Ladybird children’s books.
The painting featured in What to Look For in Autumn, published in 1960. This was part of a four-book series printed between 1959 and 1961. It was written by the biologist Elliot Lovegood Grant Watson and charted seasonal change in the countryside. The original Ladybird artwork is held alongside the collections of the Museum of English Rural Life at the University of Reading. This juxtaposition inspired us to invite specialists to examine a countryside image. Their responses offer different answers to the question of What to Look For? They reveal the diverse stories that one illustration can tell.
This MERL exhibition is produced in partnership with the Graduate Centre for International Research in Childhood: Literature, Culture, Media Literature, and the Department of English Language and Literature at The University of Reading. It is co-curated by Dr Neil Cocks, and features extensive written contributions from Dr. Sue Walsh and Professor Karin Lesnik-Oberstein.