30.4.04

Ladybirds at the Towner

Went to Eastbourne on the train with Karen Donnelly to see 'Another time, another place' -- Ladybird artwork on show at the Towner, featuring Martin Aitchison and John Berry. This is the same exhibition that started at Simon Finch Art in Portobello Road (in the Grauniad on 28 February), not the 'Art of Ladybird books' that was on at the Cheltenham Art Gallery in 2002 and was going to tour around. Wonder where it is now? It was great to see these little gouache pictures close up -- mostly from Key Words reading scheme books and the People at work series. They are photographic, but still reveal the hand of the artists, in painterly dabs and marks. Great details that they probably wouldn't get away with now, like Donald Duck and Birds Custard. Nice to see how the pictures were reworked by the same artist from the staid 60s to the more right-on 70s. Prices were around the £1200 to £2000 mark. My favourites were Berry's engineering ones with stark white and grey almost abstract interiors. Also checked out the Ravilious section and, thanks to a tip from the curator (who liked my hat), we had an excellent lunch in Sussex's oldest pub The Lamb, opposite -- carrot and coriander soup with tons of granary bread followed by spotted dick and custard (just like Peter and Jane might have had) washed down with Harvey's light mild. Get a bus to Safeways from stand K if it's raining!
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