An exhibition

Some time ago I was asked if I would agree to an exhibition of artwork at Compton Verney, for the art from The Lost Words. I hadn’t started work on the book then, and it’s quite a delicate time. I’d been working to complete existing contracts. I didn’t feel that I could agree to exhibit artwork that I hadn’t yet produced but felt very flattered to be asked. I’d been to Compton Verney as part of Stratford Lit fest. It’s beautiful. So I asked if I could delay an answer until I knew I could do the book.

A few months later I felt confident ( ha) and said yes, and an exhibition was timetabled in to coincide with the publication of the book. Then I went to visit the venue, meet the staff, and well, just as well it was that way round. We drove up to Compton Verney. What a place. Beautiful gardens, an astonishing house. We were met by the staff, including Antonia, who had instigated the whole thing after her parents visited cheltenham Literature festival and heard Robert ( Mr Macfarlane as I like to call him) speaking about our book. She knew of my work and contacted Hamish hamilton straight away to see if she could secure the show.

Now, it’s been a tough time for me in publishing, with my publisher, Frances Lincoln, being taken over by Quarto, and many changes happening. A very difficult few years indeed. Working with Hamish Hamilton has been an utter delight. The book and the vision of the book is very much led by myself, Robert and Alison, the designer. It’s a collaboration, a close one, with words and images informed by writer and artist and design wound around all of our vision. Hermione and Simon have smoothed our way. The book has evolved in ways that make it unrecognisable from the original vision. It has grown, and changed, but more of that later, when I can show you. But I have to say that when Antonia showed me the space in which my work would be displayed I did have a quiet cry.




And we had just looked around another show that was there, of the work of Picasso. And Quentin Blake will be showing when I am.

So, here is a link to the exhibition: The Lost Words, at Compton Verney

There will be events based around the show and at some point I will be painting in the gallery, probably gilding something. There will be books and prints and other things for sale.

I still feel overwhelmed to be invited to show at such a prestigious place. The staff were all so welcoming, and the show is being crafted by their team to show off the work to its best advantage. And I need to stop typing and go and paint as I have to finish the paintings, but first, just to put my feet back on the floor let me tell you a story.

I was looking somewhere, maybe on the Compton Verney Facebook page, to see if they had put anything up about the show yet, so that I could flag it up. I saw something saying that they had an exhibition by the nation’s favourite illustrator. Goodness me I thought, lovely of them to say so, but I best let them know that that’s a bit strong really…….given how many shops don’t stock my books etc…. Fortunately before I did I read on…. Quentin Blake! Of course! ¬†Get your feet back on the ground woman! And get that paint brush back in your hand.

So, come and see Quentin Blake, and me at Compton Verney which is a treasure-house of beauty ( with great biscuits).

And can I just say a big thank you to Antonia’s parents for going to see Robert MacFarlane at Cheltenham Literature Festival.


About Jackie

I am an artist and writer. I live in a small house by the sea in Wales where I write, paint, walk and watch and dream of bears and whales. I love to read, have a wish for wings and prefer the company of animals to that of humans, though at times I can be quite friendly. I am learning how to work with wood engraving tools and hoping to show that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
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6 Responses to An exhibition

  1. Bernie Bell says:

    Well then, Jackie…………………..that’s all I’m saying….well then………….
    After the storm, comes the rainbow.

  2. Terra says:

    Wow that show will be a treat for viewers, especially with the setting’s beauty moving you to a few tears.

  3. RGS says:

    Dear Jackie, As an avid reader of all Mr Macfarlane’s works and an admirer (with my daughter) of your illustrations – as well as someone who appreciates the richness of the words at our disposal – I cannot think of a more magical meeting of minds than ‘The Lost Words’ . Apart from its intrinsic worth as a book, it might also entice children (and adults) to savour those words and to venture out to find the wildlife which inspired your paintings. I can’t wait to see it and, although I am not near Compton Verney, I shall try to love to see the exhibition.

  4. RGS says:

    I am sure there will be no effort needed to love the exhibition, but I meant to say – in my haste – I shall try to see the exhibition!

  5. Naomi says:

    Me and my 3.5yo daughter have been so enjoying your books and those you have illustrated. They are always the first ones to go into our bag at the library. I’m really excited to hear you will be coming to Compton Verney, which is just around the corner from us. Hoping to meet you and introduce my little girl to one of her heroes. Strangely enough I hadn’t connected you with the Robin Hobb books – I am currently rereading all of them to prepare to read the last one.
    Thank you for filling our lives with such beauty.

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