Prints & Drawings Study Room

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Intended to inspire artists and showcase design processes, the V&A has collected illustration since its foundation. From book illustration to page design, botanical illustration to fashion plates, the collection includes a diverse array of material, including sketchbooks, drawings, proofs and printing blocks.

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Highlights include major collections of work by Beatrix Potter and George Cruikshank; E.H. Shepard's 'Winnie-the-Pooh' sketches; William Morris book designs; wood-engraved printing blocks by artists such as Eric Ravilious and Paul Nash; botanical illustrations by Jacques le Moyne de Morgues and Georg Ehret; and many other works by artists as diverse as John Tenniel and Kay Nielsen. Our Archive of Art and Design holds archival materials relating to illustrators including Enid Marx, Arthur Rackham, Edward Ardizzone and George Him.

Collection Highlights

'The bees are getting suspicious', pencil drawing by E. H. Shepard, from 'Winnie-the-Pooh', chapter 1,
'The bees are getting suspicious', pencil drawing by E. H. Shepard, from 'Winnie-the-Pooh', chapter 1, 1926, Britain. © The Shepard Trust, reproduced with permission from Curtis Brown
The Lady Mouse curtseys, variant illustration for p. 24 of 'The Tailor of Gloucester', by Beatrix Potter, 1903, Britain.
fashion illustration
Fashion illustration, by David Downton, commissioned by Vogue, 2005, China
book illustration
Book illustration for 'A Frog he would a-wooing go', Randolph Caldecott, 1883, England
Illustration from Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Little Mermaid', Walter Crane, 1870 – 1880, England
book illustration
The Prince leading the lady to the tomb, book illustration, Edmund Dulac, 1914, Britain
book illustration
Book illustration from 'The Chronicles of King Arthur', Edward Bawden, 1982, Britain
book illustration
Book illustration for 'Puss in Boots, the Story of a Sneaky Cat', Tony Ross, 1981, Britain
book illustration
Book illustration for 'The Butterfly Collector', Fulvio Testa, 1978, Britain
American Turk's-cap lily, watercolour botanical illustration, Georg Dionysus Ehret, 1740s, England
Alice at the Looking Glass, illustration to 'Through the Looking Glass and what Alice found there', engraved by Dalziel Brothers after Sir John Tenniel, Britain
Fashion illustration for Stephen Jones hat, by Barbara Hulanicki, 21st century, USA
Illustration for the cover of 'Typically Jennings', Quentin Blake, 1969, England
Fashion illustration for collar by Issey Miyake, Hiroshi Tanabe, 2009, US
Monstrosities of 1822, etching, George Cruikshank, printed by G. Humphrey, 1822, England
handcoloured illustration
Des Ombrelles, handcoloured illustration, designed by Georges Lepape, 1913, France
Design for the jacket of 'A Girl at Twenty', Phyllis E. Ginger, about 1940, UK
John Lennon Remembered, painting for the cover of 'Rolling Stone' magazine, by Barbara Nessim, 1988, US
Bubbles, wood-engraving proof from 'Rhymes for the young folk', illustration by Kate Greenaway, engraving by Edmund Evans Ltd., 1887, England
Three Blind Mice, print, illustrated by Paula Rego, printed by Culford Press, published by Marlborough Fine Art, 1989, UK


Background image: 'Soho Fire Escapes' from New York Sketchbook by Jason Brooks