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Honouring the legacy of “The Snowman” artist as exhibition comes to South Downs

Honouring the legacy of “The Snowman” artist as exhibition comes to South Downs

February 12, 2024

A fascinating exhibition is coming to the National Park featuring never-seen-before items and artworks from one of the UK’s most beloved author illustrators.

Bloomin’ Brilliant: The Life and Work of Raymond Briggs is a highly personal show that will bring together 30 items from the late author´s estate with over 100 original artworks from his 60-year career.

The exhibition, at Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, joins up with the acclaimed, currently touring show from Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration (Raymond Briggs: A Retrospective).

Bloomin’ Brilliant includes work from Briggs’s (1934-2022) pioneering titles, including The Snowman (1978), Father Christmas (1973), Fungus the Bogeyman (1977) and When the Wind Blows (1982), plus the autobiographical graphic novel Ethel and Ernest (1998), delving into the origin and creation of these classic images and stories. Also on show are his drawings, hand-lettered typography and page designs from his earliest commissions to his 2004 book The Puddleman.

For the first time following the author´s death in 2022, this exhibition will also offer a deeply personal view of the items and objects that surrounded the author in his Sussex home, which was just a mile down the road in the village of Westmeston. This will include Briggs’ own writing and drawing desk which he used for over 40 years and where he first originated some of his most famous works.

Never-seen-before artworks will also be included featured, including artwork for Father Christmas Goes on Holiday (1975), as well as several portraits and other illustrations that for decades never left his home.

These will all join hundreds of artworks that show why Raymond Briggs was – and still is – viewed as one of the most exceptional draughtsman and storytellers that this country has produced, with innovative journeys of both the magical and seemingly mundane, from monsters, flying snowmen, and miniscule humans, to heartfelt relationships, real-life war, and a hard-working Father Christmas.

The exhibition runs from 27 April to 27 October.