The Tiger Who Came to Tea exhibition at Mottisfont

The Tiger Who Came to Tea exhibition banner

From 7 July - 2 September, we're celebrating the 50th anniversary of the much-loved classic, The Tiger Who Came to Tea. You'll also be able to see over 30 original illustrations from other well-loved works by Judith Kerr, such as the Mog stories.

Judith Kerr: The Tiger Who Came to Tea runs from 7 July - 2 September, 11am - 5pm. Normal property admission price only. For visitors unable to access the second floor gallery, we have digital versions of exhibitions on iPads which are available on lower levels.

Our exhibition  - originated by Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books, in partnership with HarperCollins Children's Books - brings this delightful and enduring picture book to a new generation of families. 

The magic of The Tiger Who Came to Tea story is brought vividly to life with a giant cuddly tiger and an interactive kitchen, so that children can make their own tea for the tiger, as well as enjoying Judith Kerr's iconic drawings.

You can meet the Tiger in our gallery as part of the exhibition
A giant cuddly model of the Tiger from the Tiger Who Came to Tea
You can meet the Tiger in our gallery as part of the exhibition

Our exhibition launches a nationwide tour of the Tiger works to be displayed at 11 National Trust properties across the UK.

Judith Kerr’s first picture book, The Tiger Who Came to Tea began as a bedtime story for her own children and was 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.

" I first told this story to my small daughter long ago. She was rather critical of my other stories but used to say, ‘Talk the tiger!’ So, when she and her brother were both at school and I had more time, I thought I would make it into a picture book – and much to my amazement, here it still is 50 years later."
- Judith Kerr

Alongside facsimiles of original artwork from The Tiger Who Came to Tea, notes and sketches, we're displaying an exclusive selection of original artworks from some of Judith Kerr’s other books. You'll be able to get close to original illustrations from the Mog stories, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, The Crocodile Under the Bed, and several others.  

As well as celebrating favourite stories, you'll have the opportunity to explore 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.   

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 story teller we know today.

Judith Kerr looks at one of her illustrations on display at Seven Stories
Author and illustrator Judith Kerr views a framed copy of one of her illustrations for The Tiger Who Came to Tea
Judith Kerr looks at one of her illustrations on display at Seven Stories

You calso 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.

An outdoor family activity trail, inspired by Judith Kerr’s illustrations, will run alongside the exhibition.