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The Little Mermaid - an exhibition of Original Illustrations by Christian Birmingham

Added: (Thu Dec 03 2009)

Pressbox (Press Release) - Following the sell-out show of Christian Birmingham’s illustrations for The Snow Queen last year, Books Illustrated presents some 34 new original illustrations by Christian Birmingham for ‘The Little Mermaid’ at the Mall Galleries in The Mall, near Trafalgar Square in London. From Sunday 6 until Friday 11 December 2009, the walls of these magnificent galleries will be transformed by exotic and magical underwater scenes. The immediacy of chalk and pencil suits Christian’s style and offers wonderful luminosity and fluidity to his works and characters in their mystical kingdom.

Hans Christian Andersen’s captivating tale ‘The Little Mermaid’ has been adapted by Naomi Lewis and is scheduled to be published by Walker Books on 2 November 2009 (ISBN 9781406317909). In perfect time for Christmas, visitors to The Mall Galleries will have a unique opportunity to view the complete collection of Christian Birmingham’s original illustrations for this latest edition of the Hans Christian Andersen classic. All the illustrations will be for sale, priced between £200 and £5,000.

A vignette of the mermaid with a white marble bust from the book entitled ‘Her one comfort was to sit in her little garden clasping her arms round the beautiful marble statue…’ will be sold in aid of Children on the Edge, a charity that exists to help the most marginalised and vulnerable children worldwide with particular focus on those without parental care (www.childrenontheedge.org). Continuing the theme, a centrepiece in the exhibition is a bronze of ‘Mermaid’, by Paul Kidby, illustrator of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. In addition, there will be signed copies of The Little Mermaid to buy (RRP £14.99).
Christian Birmingham graduated from Exeter College of Art and Design in 1991 and received his first commission almost immediately. Subsequently he was shortlisted for the Kurt Maschler and Kate Greenaway illustration awards and won both the Smarties Prize and Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year Award with the Children’s Laureate author Michael Morpurgo. He has since worked with the leading UK and international publishers. His US edition of ‘The Night Before Christmas’ has now sold in excess of 1.5 million copies. Christian sees himself as a craftsman, an illustrator working to the specifications of an author.

“With regard to The Snow Queen and Little Mermaid in particular, what fascinates me is that Andersen's writing has the same extraordinary psychological resonance as, for example, that of Dickens, Poe and the brothers Grimm with so little of their darkness and violence,” said Christian Birmingham. “The difference between Andersen and Grimm is like that between the great Edwardian illustrators Edmund Dulac and Arthur Rackham - unlike the gods and grotesques of Rackham's neo-gothic world of inky-black shadows and winter sunlight, even Dulac's monsters have a baroque charm and his heroines, like Andersen's mermaid, suffer quietly behind the mask of a demure smile. And then there's the wistful ambiguity of some of his fairytale endings - especially the Snow Queen and The Little Mermaid.”

A small number of Christian Birmingham’s other original illustrations, including works for A Christmas Carol and Sleeping Beauty will also be available.

www.booksillustrated.com

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Submitted by:Gail McGuffie
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