Ardizzone: A Retrospective
23 September 2016 – 15 January 2017
A retrospective of this admired 20th century illustrator.
Many will remember Ardizzone for his famous Little Tim book series, which he wrote and illustrated himself; or perhaps his illustrations advertising fashionable London restaurants or brands such as Guinness beer.
This survey show celebrates these well known works, but also goes further to show lesser-known pieces including ceramics, three-dimensional objects and Social Realist prints. While Ardizzone was already established as a commercial illustrator he was appointed an official war artist along with his contemporaries Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious. As he travelled through France and Belgium he created startling images of soldiers maintaining daily life throughout the horrors of conflict.
An unexpected, surreal lithograph is a surprising addition to the show. This late work, called The Last Stand of the Spoons, depicts various pieces of cutlery locked in a deadly battle, balanced on a precarious table edge. This astonishing work is a testament to Ardizzone’s deft draftmanship and unbridled imagination, which is compounded by a series of beautifully illustrated, personal letters housed in a vitrine in the same space.