North West Wales

Ladybird book covers by Charles Tunnicliffe go on show

Charles Tunnicliffe illustration of swallows on the roof of his house in Malltraeth, Anglesey Image copyright Ladybird books
Image caption One image features swallows on the roof of Tunnicliffe's Anglesey home in autumn

Wildlife illustrations for children's books by a renowned Anglesey artist are being celebrated in an exhibition on the island.

Charles Tunnicliffe, from Malltraeth, who died in 1979, created some of his best known work for the "What to look for" seasonal series of Ladybird books.

Anglesey council's museums officer Ian Jones said the artist helped educate generations of children about wildlife.

The exhibition is on show at Oriel Ynys Mon, Llangefni, until December.

Born in Macclesfield in 1901, Tunnicliffe spent most of his life on Anglesey, moving to Malltraeth, near Llangefni in 1947, living there until his death.

Having grown up on a farm, he won a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Art in London.

Tunnicliffe was then able to combine his training and rural upbringing to find work as a freelance commercial artist, designing adverts for farming supplies such as cattle food and fertiliser.

In his 30s, he began illustrating books, winning acclaim for his very first work in this field - Henry Williamson's novel Tarka the Otter.

Moving to Anglesey gave Tunnicliffe further inspiration for his work, which would appear in magazines including Country Life and the Radio Times and even on picture cards given away in packets of tea.

Tunnicliffe's association with Ladybird Books began in the late 1950s with illustrations for The Farm, a learning-to-read book.

Image copyright Ladybird Books
Image copyright Ladybird Books

It was followed by What To Look for in Winter, the first in a series of nature and wildlife books covering the four seasons.

Along with copies of the books, the exhibition includes original illustrations and artworks by Tunnicliffe, as part of a history of Ladybird books from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Ian Jones, museum officer for Anglesey council, said: "Charles Tunnicliffe is recognised as being one of the foremost wildlife artists of the 20th Century, and a great many of his works were produced here on Anglesey.

"While his contribution to the art world was tremendous, his illustrations for Ladybird Books also helped educate generations of children and young people about the wildlife around us.

"We're pleased to be able to unveil this wonderful exhibition at Oriel Ynys Mon and would like to thank Ladybird Books and Reading University for their co-operation in bringing this collection to Anglesey."

Image copyright Oriel Ynys Mon
Image caption Charles Tunnicliffe at work in his home at Malltraeth, where he lived most of his life

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