In Conversation: John Vernon Lord and Chris Riddell

Two award-winning illustrators discuss the work on display in our new exhibition

When, Where

Following the opening of John Vernon Lord: Illustrating Carroll and Joyce, the award-winning author-illustrator is joined by Chris Riddell to reflect on the exhibition which features his extraordinary work for five books including Finnegan’s WakeAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Ulysses.

Together they will take time to decode the pen and ink drawings which are rich with metaphor, pattern and codes, teasing out their meaning and luxuriating in the craft.

“As you will see in this exhibition, the pages of John’s notebooks are filled with complex, intricate visual incantations; calligraphy, foliage and geometric shapes entwine in astonishing profusion, demonstrating John’s wizardry with the medium of black ink on paper.” – Chris Riddell

John Vernon Lord has been working as an author-illustrator for nearly 50 years. He has illustrated many classic texts by Aesop, Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear, as well as his own stories, and he was also a distinguished lecturer and teacher of illustration for 45 years until his retirement.

Chris Riddell, the 2015-2017 UK Children’s Laureate, was a student of John Vernon Lord’s at Brighton Polytechnic’s School of Art in the early 1980s. He is an accomplished artist and the political cartoonist for the Observer and has enjoyed great acclaim for his award-winning books for children.


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