What’s your name and what do you do at Seven Stories?

My name is Rosalind Bos and I am the conservator for Seven Stories.

Can you tell us a bit about your role?

My role is to look after the welfare of the collection from when items first arrive in the store, where I survey the collection to ensure that no pests or mould arrive with it, all the way through to its rehousing. I also ensure the environment of the store is just right - to quote Goldilocks - not too humid and not too hot. I also check the condition of the items going into exhibitions and advise on whether they are stable enough to be shown or whether facsimiles/ duplicates should be made; I then hinge, mount and frame the artwork, as well as make the book mounts for the exhibitions. Finally I help install the exhibitions and check on the light levels. Whilst the exhibitions are on in our galleries I check the environment again to ensure the welfare of the items on display.

Rosalind removing adhesive from the back of artwork
© Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books

What are you working on at the moment?

I am currently working on a new exhibition called ‘Time to get up!’ with Alison Fisher and Harjeet Kaur as well as un-framing Michael Foreman exhibition that has come back from touring.

What’s your favourite item in the Seven Stories collection and why?

That’s a very tough question as there are lots of items in seven Stories collection that I love, but if I had to choose I would go for the 'Angelina Ballerina' artwork. Growing up I very much enjoyed reading the books but now being able to see the original illustrations as well as being able to see all the work that Helen Craig puts into one illustration is amazing and always seems to be able to bring me back to childhood.

What has been your favourite experience of working with the Seven Stories collection?

Again there are so many that it is very hard to choose from! I very much enjoy the buzz you get when opening boxes of new acquisitions, especially illustrations, as it feels like Christmas and you never know what wonders you shall uncover!

I also really enjoy working on exhibitions and seeing them take shape and helping getting them on the walls and ready for the public to enjoy; I think that my favourite experience was the opening of the first big exhibition that I worked on for Seven Stories – ‘Michael Morpurgo: a Lifetime in Stories’. It was brilliant to see the children that had worked on the artefictions for it deliver their speech with such pride!

What was your favourite book as a child?

Well yet another tricky question! Obviously 'Angelina Ballerina' as mentioned previously, but I would like to mention Princess Smartypants by Babette Cole, too. As a child I was a bit of a tom boy and very much identified with the Princess, not dreaming of marriage but more wanting to be surrounded by animals and what better than having a dragon as a pet like the princess!

Rosalind holding 'Angelina's Christmas' by Katherine Holabird and Helen Craig (Puffin, 1985)
© Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books

But being a book worm I cannot just mention one book. Another book that I enjoyed reading was 'The Jolly Postman or Other People’s Letters' by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, as I enjoyed and still do enjoy, receiving letters and that lovely feeling of opening an envelope, catching up on friend’s and family’s news and deciphering people’s handwriting.

Finally, as I was born and grew up in France I will mention one book that really was my favourite both in story and illustrations, made by a Belgium author/illustrator called Monique Martin under the pseudonym Gabrielle Vincent, it is called 'Ernest et Célestine'. It’s a lovely series of books about a bear called Ernest who has adopted a mouse Célestine and their adventures through life together with its ups and its downs.

If you’d like to find out more about the Seven Stories Collections, you can sign up to our newsletterbrowse our catalogue, explore our archives online, email us via collections@sevenstories.org.uk or leave a comment below!