News, events and schools' information for families across Bath and West Wiltshire

Take a trip down memory lane and discover the books that defined a generation in The Wonderful World of the Ladybird Book Artists at Victoria Art Gallery in Bath. Uncover the story of the talented artists who illustrated Ladybird books during their heyday and see hundreds of books and original artworks on display in this exhibition that will delight family members of all ages from 19 January to 14 April 2024.  

An impressive collection of Ladybird books and artworks will take older visitors back to childhood tales of magical fairy tales, inspiring adventures, and informative guides on everything from wildlife to arithmetic. Charting the story of the Ladybird ‘golden years’, from 1940 to 1975, this beautiful and colourful exhibition will showcase the enormous role illustrators played in creating the iconic children’s books.

As well as a nostalgic look back at childhood, this fun exhibition promises a chance for younger visitors to discover the classic books for the first time. A free I Spy exhibition trail will bring Ladybird books to life and a cosy reading corner complete with a ‘Coco the Caravan’ den will offer the chance to curl up with a classic.

The museum’s new ‘Toddler Thursdays’ will welcome pre-schoolers and their carers for weekly story-time sessions. Family craft sessions inspired by Ladybird artwork will run throughout February Half Term and the Easter school holidays.

Vintage Ladybird books encapsulate much of the history of 20th Century Britain. There were many different reasons for the books’ phenomenal success but – as Ladybird books were essentially picture books – it was in large measure the illustrations that attracted and engaged readers.

The exhibition will explore the artists, models and real locations linked to Ladybird books, and recount the fascinating story of a little Loughborough print business that became a giant in children’s publishing.

The exhibition is curated by Ladybird expert and enthusiast Helen Day, who has spent more than 20 years collecting and researching Ladybird books. Helen said, “I’m so excited to be bringing my colourful, nostalgic exhibition to the beautiful city of Bath.”

There will be lunchtime exhibition tours at 1.30pm to 2pm every Thursday, suitable for all ages and free with an exhibition ticket.

The Victoria Art Gallery shop will stock a range of Ladybird-themed prints, books and gifts.