Ladybird by Design

An exhibition of over 120 original illustrations from Ladybird Books comes to London

When, Where

Our summer exhibition features over 120 original illustrations from classic Ladybird titles, in celebration of 100 years of Ladybird Books. Scroll down to book tickets.

Specially commissioned illustrations, clever format and compelling design, combined with the quality of the writing, were key to the success of the Ladybird books.

Unparalleled in their perfectly observed attention to detail and unique sense of place, the books demonstrate the power of illustration to open up the world to children and their parents, grandparents and teachers alike.

Ladybird’s full-colour, full-page illustrations were commissioned from well-known illustrators such as Charles Tunnicliffe (What To Look For titles, series 536), Harry Wingfield (Shopping with Mother, series 563, and Key Words, series 641), Martin Aitchison (Key Words titles), Eric Winter and Robert Lumley (Well-loved Tales, series 606d), John Berry (People at Work, series 606b) and Robert Ayton (Great Inventions and The Story of Oil, series 601).

Ladybird by Design features iconic images from Ladybird series including People At Work, Shopping With Mother, Science, Nature, Well Loved Tales and Key Words, as well as rare photographs and correspondence.

The exhibition is generously supported by Cate Olson and Nash Robbins.

Image gallery

Public programme

15 July: Ladybird by Design
Talk and book signing with exhibition co-curator and author of Ladybird by Design Lawrence Zeegen.

30 July: For the love of Ladybird
Ladybird provokes passions, enthusiasms, memories and nostalgia. In an evening led by Ladybird collector Helen Day share your pivotal and perhaps secret memories.

13 August: David McCandless on infographics
We welcome renowned visual data journalist David McCandless to explore the power of infographics

8 September: Ladybird in context
Puffins, Perry Colour Books and the Bantam Picture Books: the lithographed children's books of the 1940s, their illustrators and printers examined by collector and publisher Joe Pearson.

17 September: The Ladybird book of Modernism
The modern world as depicted in Ladybird illustrations examined by John Grindrod, author of Concretopia: A Journey Around the Rebuilding of Postwar Britain.

22 September: Educated by Ladybird
Panel discussion examining what there is to learn from how Ladybird taught us.

25 September: Last chance to see Ladybird
A final celebration of Ladybird by Design in an activity-packed gallery late opening.


Ladybird by Design is a touring exhibition from De La Warr Pavilion, co-curated by Lawrence Zeegen and Jane Won.