Mottisfont exhibition: British Summerscape - from Ladybird Books collection

A hedgehog illustration from the Ladybird book 'What To Look For In Summer’

Eighteen original watercolours from Ladybird’s 1960 book ‘What to Look For in Summer’ are on show in the Art Gallery at Mottisfont this summer offering a delightful new perspective on the world.

Exhibition: British Summerscape – from the Ladybird Books collection

24 July – 5 September, 11am until 4.30pm

This summer, the art gallery at Mottisfont will be transformed into a watercolour paradise Original watercolours, painted by one of Britain’s foremost wildlife artists for the Ladybird book classic ‘What to Look For in Summer’, are on show at Mottisfont from 24 July to 5 September. Experience the delights of nature through the eyes of acclaimed artist Charles Tunnicliffe and enter his world of divinely detailed illustrations

A redshank and her chicks in the summer flowers
Mottisfont Summerscape Exhibition Redshank
A redshank and her chicks in the summer flowers

First published in 1960, Tunnicliffe’s beautifully detailed artworks reflect the plants and wildlife of a summer season in the countryside - swallows swooping gracefully over farmland on the hunt for insects; a water vole hiding on the river’s edge; an adder basking on sun-warmed dunes. Blown-up sections of the illustrations cover the Art Gallery's walls, creating a feeling of immersion so you feel as if stepping into the pages of the book itself.

Tunnicliffe’s beautifully detailed artworks reflect the plants and wildlife of a summer season in the countryside
Mottisfont Summerscape Exhibition Adder
Tunnicliffe’s beautifully detailed artworks reflect the plants and wildlife of a summer season in the countryside

Outside, in the garden's beech tree circle, a unique outdoor gallery space has been created to host local artist Natasha Durley’s vibrant digital illustrations from the new Ladybird edition of 'What to Look For in Summer'. Published in 2020, the new book modernises the Ladybird series and will inspire today's children as the orginial did 60 years ago. Natasha's colourful and charming illustrations are perfect snapshots of animal life and their fresh, contemporary style aims to bring a new curiosity and awareness of nature to the next generation of Ladybird readers. This is the very first time that both sets of illustrations have been on display together.

Natasha Durley’s vibrant digital illustrations of water voles for the new Ladybird edition of 'What to Look for in Summer'
Water voles Natasha Durley Mottisfont Summer Exhibition 2021
Natasha Durley’s vibrant digital illustrations of water voles for the new Ladybird edition of 'What to Look for in Summer'

Senior Programming and Partnerships Officer at Mottisfont: “We’re really delighted to be showcasing Charles Tunnicliffe’s exquisite watercolours alongside Natasha Durley’s vibrant modern illustrations. It feels very appropriate too as so much of what you can explore at Mottisfont is reflected in the book; not just the streams, meadows, and woods, but the wonderful wildlife and plants too.”

Take a moment to look for your own summer scenes worthy of a Tunnicliffe rendition here in the gardens at Mottisfont. What will you spot amongst the blooming flowers of our garden?

Accessibility 

At Mottisfont, we aim to make your visit as enjoyable as possible. Disabled parking, ramps and wheelchairs are all available. Accessible toilets can be found in both the Welcome Centre and the Stables. The House and grounds are situated on a gentle slope and paths can be uneven in places, though paths are all wide enough to accommodate wheelchair users. We welcome assistance dogs throughout the site. 

The exhibition takes place in Mottisfont’s Art Gallery. For visitors unable to access the second-floor gallery, we have digital versions of exhibitions on iPads which are available on the lower levels. 

A woman and child work out the puzzles on a trail sheet

Mottisfont's Sights & Sounds of Summer family trail

Mottisfont’s new Sights & Sounds of Summer family trail has loads of fun activities and sporting challenges to get stuck into, inspired by colourful Ladybird Book nature illustrations on show in the house and gardens. Test your agility on the ‘Beat the Osprey’ obstacle course, time yourself in the ‘Roe Deer Races’, or pretend to be a bat on Mottisfont’s ‘Hide and Sonar Seek’ game. There are wildflower seed bombs to make too, plus tips to help you design your own wildlife garden.