This archive of 17 boxes of material, 183 framed items and some loose work, includes many iconic illustrations by the English writer and artist Mervyn Peake.

Peake was born in China and spent his early childhood there, before moving to England aged 11. He later trained at Croydon School of Art and the Royal Academy Schools before establishing a career as an artist. He is now most celebrated for his writing and illustrations to classic books, including his own Gormenghast fantasy series.

In 2010 the British Library acquired the Mervyn Peake Literary Archive (with Art Fund support), comprising 28 containers of material, including Peake’s correspondence with other notable writers and 39 Gormenghast notebooks. This acquisition is now joined by the Mervyn Peake Visual Archive, which brings all of Peake’s work together in one place.

Included in the Visual Archive are Peake’s illustrations for his Gormenghast novels, which feature unforgettable characters such as Titus Groan and Steerpike, as well as drawings for his acclaimed children’s book, Captain Slaughterboard Drops Anchor.

Also included are illustrations for children’s literature classics, including Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Household Tales by the Brothers Grimm, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.


The Mervyn Peake Estate.

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