Jacqueline Ayer: Drawing on Thailand

An exhibition by the ground-breaking 1960s illustrator, designer and entrepreneur

When, Where

"The books were groundbreaking when they were published in Britain and the US in 1959" The Guardian

Jacqueline Ayer was endlessly admired and respected. What is always difficult to understand is the degree to which she was able to change every culture she was embedded in, from editorial pages to clothing design, to fabrics and children’s books.” Milton Glaser

Jacqueline Ayer's picture books were a remarkable addition to 1960s America. Documenting her family’s life around the back lanes of Bangkok, they were the first books published in the US to depict Asian culture authentically. The Paper-Flower Tree and Nu Dang and his Kite will be reissued by Enchanted Lion Books to coincide with the exhibition, for the first time in almost 60 years.

Born in 1930s New York to Jamaican parents, Ayer grew up with Milton Glaser in the first interracial housing in the US. She illustrated for Vogue and worked alongside Andy Warhol before moving to Thailand in the 1950s.

She also founded fashion company Design Thai, creating textiles and garments without colonial overtones – her reference book Oriental Fashion is still used by London College of Fashion today.

Important to know:

One ticket covers admission to all House of Illustration exhibitions that are open on the day. Buy exhibition tickets below.

On Thursday 5 October the exhibition will close early, at 4.30pm.