From Wellies to War Horse at Paxton

September 13, 2016 § 3 Comments


An exhibition currently running at Paxton House, until 31st October, celebrating the book ‘Where My Wellies Take Me…’ which I was commissioned to illustrate by the writer Michael Morpurgo in 2009.

As well as the fifty or so framed works, which include original spreads from the book, etchings and paintings, there are several display cases with work in progress…


The original ‘mockup’ book


…experimenting with a little paper engineering!

Having never illustrated a book before, I did everything the wrong way, including making a full size mockup of the book to work out how many pages the finished thing would be.


Work ‘from the field’, quite literally!

I also went camping in Devon, to do my research, part of which was mapping out the local landscape which is the geography of the book itself.


Always keep your paintbox clean…

The best thing about the book is that it is written and drawn (I supposed) by an eight year old, so it was a fantastic opportunity to learn about all sorts of things like wildlife, and erm, how to draw…(not mastered that one yet, but keep practising!).


Copperplates and Matchboxes

In the display cases are things no-one normally sees, all to do with how the book was made including some etching plates, which I used for some of the pages, and also one of my favourite things, the matchbox that Michael lent me when I was camping in their garden. I later painted this matchbox in the book…


The Blue Cross Safety Match, thank you Michael!

By a series of misfortunes I was lucky to land myself in the lap of the villagers and to get to know many very kind people, all of whom helped to a great extent with my work on the book, and some of whom even modelled for characters in it,  so thank you once again to the good people of Iddesleigh!

All this, and the finished article, is now on display at Paxton House. For more information please get in touch,

There is also a wonderful Michael Morpurgo exhibition on at Seven Stories in Newcastle, also featuring some of the ‘Wellies’ & ‘War Horse’ work. Please visit





§ 3 Responses to From Wellies to War Horse at Paxton

  • Hoffmann says:

    And the exhibition is absolutely stunning. It is so thoughtfully organised and interesting with incredibly moving artwork.

  • Yes, truly the exhibition is stunning. I took two people out for lunch and then to the Hayloft Gallery, as a combined birthday treat. From the wideness of the themes that are tackled to the smallest detail, the whole room was a testament to the artist’s skill, observation, feeling and wonderful aesthetic. The Hayloft was a good setting for the work, the light was lovely on the early autumn day we went there.

  • olivia145 says:

    Thank you for such kind words! It is great to be able to exhibit more close to home and at such a beautiful venue, thank you to Hermione Hoffman for coming up with the idea. Hermione is the Education Officer at Paxton and got in touch last year about doing some workshops based on the ‘Wellies’ book.
    The work looks really lovely in The Hayloft, framed and hung by Vincent Lomenech, and I am very pleased that there have been so many visitors enjoying the show. I will be working with Hermione on some workshops she has designed for school visits; a tour of the exhibition with some drawing and writing in the grounds of Paxton House, looking forward to seeing some proper artists at work! Watch this space…

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