Last chance to see enchanting Illustrating Harry Potter exhibition before begins national tour

On display until Sunday 24 April 2016

The Easter holidays will be the last chance for families to pore over the intricate illustrations, early sketches and models exploring award-winning illustrator Jim Kay’s creative process in the exclusive Illustrating Harry Potter exhibition at Seven Stories - The National Centre for Children's Book.

The Illustrating Harry Potter exhibition curated by Seven Stories – The National Centre for Children’s Books and supported by Bloomsbury Publishing has been at the Newcastle National Museum since it premiered in November 2015.  The launch weekend of the exhibition cemented its anticipated popularity with over 770 visitors coming through the doors in that one weekend – all to be inspired by the previously unseen work of award-winning illustrator Jim Kay.

Five months later, families on Tyneside will have one final chance to see the exhibition at Seven Stories this Easter.  Visitors will be transported to the enchanting world of Harry Potter as reimagined by illustrator Jim Kay in this exclusive exhibition.   Intricate sketches, models and stunning pencil drawings reveal Jim’s complex, creative process, from inspiration to final illustration.  The exhibition will close shortly after the Easter holidays on Sunday 24 April.

Programme Director at Seven Stories, Alison Gwynn said:

We’ll be sad to say goodbye to our Illustrating Harry Potter exhibition when it leaves us after Easter to go on tour.  The exhibition gives real insight into Jim Kay’s challenge of reimagining and illustrating J K Rowling’s iconic debut.  The early drafts, character concepts and stunning final artwork on display have proved very popular with Potter fans of all ages and the exhibition has been an exciting springboard for our public programme over the winter.  I’m delighted that we were able to make this idea a reality and visitors have had the opportunity to see first-hand Jim’s intricate work.”

Illustrating Harry Potter devised, curated and premiered at Seven Stories has continued to draw visitors of all ages to Seven Stories and has been the focus of Seven Stories’ popular public programme with the pinnacle of the activities being hosted during February Half Term.  A throng of witches, wizards and Harry Potters were entertained by a Week of Wizarding Wonder, attracted to the National Centre by the Illustrating Harry Potter exhibition with an average of 480 visitors per day enjoying the museum and reaching its peak at nearly 800 visitors on the Wednesday of half term alone. 

The exhibition has inspired the public programme over the winter period and even formed the basis for this year’s successful ongoing partnership with Northumbria University.  The Northumbria Drama students reacted to a live brief from Seven Stories to write and produce imaginative vignettes and performances inspired by Seven Stories’ Illustrating Harry Potter exhibition. 

Jim Kay expressed his delight at having an exhibition at Seven Stories:

I’m very lucky to have an exhibition at Seven Stories which shows how I went about illustrating and creating this story.  It’s wonderful for me to see this finally up on the walls and out in the open. You forget what you’ve done…you do so much in preparation for the book so finally I get a chance to have a look at those drawings again. Thank you to Seven Stories. It’s been a delight and a pleasant surprise.”

The exhibition will close at Seven Stories on Sunday 24 April in preparation for its national tour, appearing at Dame Hannah Rogers Trust in Devon from Sunday 3 July 2016. Hannahs has been enriching the lives of children and young people for more than 200 years. One of the UK’s oldest charities, Hannahs is dedicated to empowering children, young people and adults with profound physical and learning disabilities, providing them with life-changing opportunities and advocating their needs.

Andrew Dean, director of development and engagement at the Dame Hannah Rogers Trust, said:

We are thrilled to be welcoming such an exciting and beautiful exhibition to Hannahs at Seale-Hayne. Our beautiful site is often compared to Hogwarts and it’s certainly a place where magic takes place on a daily basis. We hope that visitors not only enjoy this breath taking exhibition, but also discover something about our ethos and our work to make disability incidental.”

Seven Stories will curate an exhibition commemorating the 80th anniversary of the prestigious children’s illustrator Edward Ardizzone’s Little Tim series and uses the holdings in their archive.  Edward Ardizzone: 80 Years of Little Tim will launch at Seven Stories on Saturday 30 April 2016 with a weekend of seafaring adventure.  


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Notes to editor:

  1. Jim Kay will be illustrating all seven of J.K.Rowling’s books, the first in the series Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone launched 6 October this year and Seven Stories revealed a world exclusive in August, having the iconic streets of Diagon Alley brought to life in the Attic on Level 7. “The story is everything, and so I want to bring what I can to really show the depth of Rowling's stories, to their best.” Jim Kay.
  2. Jim Kay won the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2012 for his illustrations in A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. He studied illustration at the University of Westminster and since graduating has worked in the Archives of Tate Britain and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. Jim has produced concept work for film and television, and contributed to a group exhibition at the V&A museum in London.
  3. Edward Ardizzone: 80 Years of Little Tim exhibition commemorates the 80th anniversary of Ardizzone's first Little Tim book - Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain (1936).  The exhibition has been curated using the extensive holdings in the Seven Stories Collection. Using original artwork from Tim and Lucy Go to SeaTim and CharlotteTim in Danger and The Little Train, as well as draft material, single illustrations, printed books and letters, the exhibition will celebrate this iconic British illustrator while introducing his work to a new generation. Original artwork - some of it on show for the first time - introduces the character’s that made Ardizzone’s books so popular - meet the heroic Little Tim, mischievous Ginger, resourceful Charlotte and the Wise Old Boatman.

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