Victoria and Albert Museum

The world’s greatest museum of art and design

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The Mushroom Picker

The Mushroom Picker

The Mushroom Picker tells the tale of charismatic mushroom characters thriving in an English wood, and of one heroine in particular, Penny Bun – a rare and spectacular porcini – who evades The Mushroom Picker’s annual autumn harvest.

Set against the dark night sky, Robinson’s funghi characters come to life in these richly illustrative images, as Penny Bun and her friends (Rosy Earthstar, Scarlet Cup, Slippery Jack and others) conspire to build a rocket ship to escape the Picker’s grasp.

Lovingly crafted by a mushroom obsessive, the co-founder of Sporeboys street-kitchen, these unique images show highly fanciful scenes and portraits from this adventure. Robinson’s luminograms themselves are created in his darkroom in mysterious fashion using a cameraless process: He arranges hand-cut mushrooms directly on the plate glass of his enlarger and varies the intensity of light exposed to his subjects to create Penny Bun’s extraordinary universe. Afterwards, when his luminograms are developed, Robinson’s funghi are summarily discarded (or eaten!), these tableaux never to be remade.

The Mushroom Picker, cover
The Mushroom Picker, pages 32-33, rocket launch.
The Mushroom Picker, pages 16-17, the picker's thoughts.