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14 October 2019The Wind in the Willows Revisited Through its Illustrators
11 November 2019Dumfries House: an Ayrshire Renaissance
09 December 2019Netherlandish Influences on Italian Art

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The Wind in the Willows Revisited Through its Illustrators John Ericson Monday 14 October 2019

The beauty of Kenneth Grahame’s prose is widely acknowledged but the story is so full of wonderful imagery that it almost demands to be illustrated. First published in 1908 without illustration, the classic tale of Ratty, Mole, and the incorrigible Mr Toad has been in print ever since. What is less well known is that it has been illustrated by more than ninety artists – making it the most widely illustrated book in the English language.

However, ‘Willows’ is a far more interesting book than its popular and often young audience might appreciate. It deserves recognition as a novel in which adult readers will find not just humour and entertainment but wisdom and meaning. In this engaging presentation we will revisit the story as depicted by numerous well known illustrators such as E H Shepard, Arthur Rackham, Robert Ingpen, Val Biro and Inga Moore. Where appropriate we will compare the same scene in the book through the eyes of different artists, a study known as ‘comparative illustration'.

John was formerly a lecturer at the University of Bath where he was Director of Studies in the School of Education with responsibility for the professional development of teachers. He has worked extensively overseas as an educational consultant and this has given him the opportunity to give lectures and presentations at conferences all over the world. In 2008 and again in 2011 he undertook extensive lecture tours of Australia and he has been a popular speaker on The Arts Society's circuit for several years. His ability to relate well to people of all ages and backgrounds makes him an impressive and confident public speaker.