For one hundred years, Ladybird books have delighted children, their parents, grandparents and teachers alike, taking readers on a journey of discovery and enlightenment. Affordable and accessible, Ladybird books hold a significant and affectionate place in the collective psyche of the nation, conjuring up, through written word and illustration, life in Britain in more innocent times.
In 2014 and early 2015, the De La Warr Pavilion displayed over 200 original illustrations covering a selection of Ladybird books from the late 1950s to early 1970s. Focusing on those books which reflected the world in which the reader lived, the exhibition featured selections from the People At Work series, Shopping With Mother, the Science and Nature series as well as the Well Loved Tales and Key Words series.
The success of Ladybird was as much due to clever format and compelling design, as it was the quality of the writing, presenting a portrait of the time through the use of specifically commissioned illustration. Unparalleled in their perfectly observed attention to detail and unique sense of place, Ladybird’s full-colour, full-page illustrations were often created by well-known illustrators such as Charles Tunnicliffe (What To Look For titles, series 536), Harry Wingfield (Shopping with Mother, series 563, and Key Words, series 641), Martin Aitchison (Key Words titles), Eric Winter and Robert Lumley (Well-loved Tales, series 606d), John Berry (People at Work, series 606b) and Robert Ayton (Great Inventions and The Story of Oil, series 601).
This exhibition takes its title from the new book Ladybird by Design, written by Professor of Illustration and Dean of the School of Design at the London College of Communication, Lawrence Zeegen. The book publishes on 5March 2015 and will portray a unique slice of Britain’s social and design history, as seen through the eyes of Ladybird. Professor Zeegen has been closely involved in curating the exhibition that has been inspired by Ladybird by Design.