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National Museum Cardiff hosts exhibition bringing Anthony Browne's books to life

National Museum Cardiff is ready to host a unique family exhibition that immerses visitors into Anthony Browne’s picturebook world - Through the Magic Mirror: The World of Anthony Browne, a ‘Seven Stories’ exhibition.

Opening officially on Saturday 2 June 2012 with former Children’s Laureate and award-winning author and illustrator, Anthony Browne, Through the Magic Mirror: The World of Anthony Browne is an opportunity for children and families to step into the world of Anthony Browne’s books – for free! Visitors will be greeted with life-size adaptations of his work combined with original illustrations from over 30 of his picturebook titles including Gorilla, Into the Forest, Zoo, Little Beauty and Willy the Champ. There will also be an opportunity to play The Shape Game, a drawing game invented by Browne that gets the whole family involved. 

Enter his family home, complete with family photographs and artefacts, as well as artwork from My Mum and My Dad. Walk through the back yard from Changes, take a stroll in the park or visit a life-size gorilla in the zoo, showcasing artwork from Little Beauty. You can also enter the forest where Anthony Browne’s fairytale adaptations can be found, including Hansel and Gretel, Me and You, Bear Hunt and The Tunnel.

This is the first exhibition of Anthony's work on this scale in the UK, taking into account his whole career in illustration from 1976 to the present day. Anthony says: ‘I am so pleased that Seven Stories has created this exhibition that looks retrospectively at my life and work in such an imaginative way.’

An internationally acclaimed author and illustrator of children's books, with nearly 40 titles to his name, Browne creates strongly narrative watercolours that blend near-photographic realism with fantastical, surreal touches and ingenious visual puns. His skilful use of colour, pattern and background detail subtly conveys an exquisite empathy for his lonely and sensitive child protagonists (both human and ape). Gorillas feature in many of Anthony's books. He says, 'I am fascinated by them and the contrast they represent – their huge strength and gentleness. They're thought of as being very fierce creatures and they're not.'

Beth McIntyre, Curator of Prints & Drawings at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales commented: “Anthony Browne’s picture books are exceptional, the images often tell more of the story than the words. There is a huge appetite for exhibitions such as this one that families can enjoy with their children and for free and we’re very pleased to be able to host this wonderful exhibition.

“A combination of fun activities for children – for 7 years old and above - based on their favourite Anthony Browne characters, and lovely illustrations make it a ‘must-see’ exhibition.

“We are also delighted to announce that Anthony Browne has created a special work of art to celebrate the exhibition coming to National Museum Cardiff. He has responded to one of our more famous and treasured works, Cezanne’s The Diver, and we hope visitors enjoy this wonderful and unique addition to the exhibition.”

The Seven Stories touring exhibition will be on display at National Museum Cardiff from 2 June to 23 September. For more information, please visit

Seven Stories is the first gallery and archive in the UK that celebrates the wonderful world of children’s books creating a vibrant event and exhibition programme to cater for book lovers of all ages. Find Seven Stories tucked under Byker Bridge not far from Newcastle’s bustling Quayside.

Admission to National Museum Cardiff and the exhibition is free thanks to the support of the Welsh Assembly Government.

Date: 11 May 2012
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