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North Herts Museum welcomes The Tiger Who Came to Tea exhibition

24 June 2021
The Tiger Who Came to Tea

PR Date: Thursday, 24 June 2021 - 10:30am

A new exhibition that will explore the life and celebrate the work of one of Britain's best known author–illustrators for children, Judith Kerr, is set to open at North Herts Museum on 7 July.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the much-loved classic The Tiger Who Came to Tea, the exhibition, originated by Seven Stories - the National Centre for Children’s Books, features high quality copies of Judith Kerr’s original illustrations from the Seven Stories collection and promises to bring this delightful book to life for a new generation of family audiences.

A play version of Sophie’s kitchen featuring a friendly 5-foot tiger offers children the opportunity to experience the story first-hand. Tiger themed craft activities, a reading corner and story sessions will run over the summer holidays, and if you love tea and cakes, you’ll enjoy the special Tiger Who Came to Tea themed afternoon teas, with stripy cakes and sandwiches.

Judith Kerr’s first picture book began as a bedtime story for her own children and was first published in 1968.  It soon became a classic and by the time it celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2008, it had been translated into 11 languages and sold over five million copies.

The exhibition details Judith’s childhood and her experiences of having to escape Germany as Hitler came to power, how it felt to be a refugee in Switzerland, then France before finally settling in London in 1936. Judith writes about these experiences through three semi-autobiographical novels for older children in her Out of the Hitler Time trilogy, through the story of her alter ego Anna.  

Cllr Sam Collins, NHDC’s Executive Member for Arts said: “We are thrilled to welcome this fascinating and fun exhibition to North Herts Museum. Judith Kerr lived a remarkable life and it is fitting that the exhibition offers the opportunity to learn about the author as well as her most famous book. The Tiger That Came to Tea exhibition has something for all ages to enjoy and will no doubt bring lots smiles to the faces of children who visit over the school holidays. Do make sure you stop by to experience the exhibition for yourself.”

Sarah Lawrance, Collections Director at Seven Stories said: "Seven Stories is honoured to be the custodian of Judith Kerr’s archive and privileged to be curator of an exhibition that celebrates her remarkable life and her outstanding contribution to children’s literature. Visitors to North Hertfordshire Museum will be treated to a unique opportunity to see reproductions of Judith’s precious artwork, which shows how, through a lifetime of looking and drawing, her stories have become part of our nation’s childhood.

"The exhibition gives a unique insight into Judith’s life and work, including access to childhood drawings where we discover how Judith developed into the artist and storyteller we know today.  Visitors can also watch a short film, featuring children from Christ Church C of E Primary School in Newcastle upon Tyne. They have investigated why the issues of conflict and displacement are as relevant today as in the 1930s, including interviews and footage of Judith at work in her studio at home.

"Among the most remarkable treasures in Judith's archive, held by Seven Stories, is a sequence of childhood drawings. These fragile images depict scenes of a happy, ordinary, life seen through the eyes of a young girl (with a precocious talent for drawing!). Coupled with Judith's autobiographical writings, these give a unique insight into her life at that time, and show how - despite all the difficulties - her talent for writing and illustrating grew and grew."

The exhibition will run from 7 July to 4 September and is on loan from Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books. Seven Stories is supported by Arts Council England, Newcastle City Council and Quarto Group. Tiger afternoon teas must be booked in advance on the Museum ticket booking page. 

For more information visit the North Herts Museum webpage or call 01462 474554.