Ladybird by Design in London

Illustration from Numbers © Ladybird Books Ltd, 1959

10 July – 27 September 2015

We are delighted to announce that  Ladybird by Design will open at House of Illustration in King’s Cross, London.

This exhibition, of over 120 original illustrations from Ladybird books was seen in its extended version at the De La Warr Pavilion earlier this year and  proved to be our  most popular exhibition to date.

The exhibition celebrates 100 years since the Ladybird logo was first registered in 1915.

Inspired by the book by Lawrence Zeegen, published in March 2015, the exhibition features iconic images from Ladybird series including People At Work, Shopping With Mother, Science, Nature, Well Loved Tales and Key Words, as well as rare photographs and correspondence.

Specially commissioned illustrations, clever format and compelling design, combined with the quality of the writing, were key to the success of the Ladybird books.
Colin McKenzie, House of Illustration’s Director, said:

“It is difficult to think of a series of books that has had such a profound influence on successive generations of children as Ladybird Books. Ladybird recognised, probably more than any other children’s publisher, the unique power of illustration to capture the present and to conjure up the past in a way that children found irresistible, and this important exhibition celebrates not just these iconic images, but the illustrators who created them.”

Illustration from Shopping with Mother © Ladybird Books Ltd, 1958

Ladybird’s full-colour, full-page illustrations were commissioned from 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).

Selection was rigorous, with only the best commercial illustrators commissioned. Early Ladybird books had 24 illustrations and each book had 56 pages, created out of one sheet of paper which was then folded and cut to size. This was originally an ingenious response to paper rationing , and enabled the books to be sold very cheaply.

Unparalleled in their attention to detail and unique sense of place, the books demonstrate the power of illustration to open up the world to children and their parents, grandparents and teachers alike. They present a compelling piece of visual history, conjuring up life in Britain in more innocent times.

Illustration from Tricks and Magic © Ladybird Books Ltd, 1969

Ladybird by Design is a touring exhibition from De La Warr Pavilion, co-curated by Lawrence Zeegen and DLWP Head of Exhibitions Jane Won.

House Of Illustration

For all Ladybird by Design exhibition information, images and interview requests please contact: 

Charlotte Sidwell or Danielle DeMartini

at Brunswick Arts

on 020 7404 5959


For more information on Ladybird by Design please contact Jen Cooper, freelance PR for Penguin Random House Children’s Books on or 07771728149

Listings information

  • Ladybird By Design 10 July – 27 September 2015
  • House of Illustration, 2 Granary Square, London N1C 4BH.
  • Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm. Closed Mondays.
  • Admission: £7/£5/£4.
  • Information: 020 3696 2020 – – @illustrationHQ

Image credits, top to bottom:

  • Illustration from Numbers © Ladybird Books Ltd, 1959
  • Illustration from Shopping with Mother © Ladybird Books Ltd, 1958
  • Illustration from Tricks and Magic © Ladybird Books Ltd, 1969

Reproduced by permission of Ladybird Books Ltd.