Most of the artworks we have available are the original published pieces from children’s books. Some, however, are preliminary drawings or sketches, and others are what we call an alternative – that is, an original piece of artwork that didn’t end up in the published book for whatever reason.
We do sell some prints as well and you’ll find further information about them on the separate prints page.
A Good Investment
“Book illustrations are becoming the watercolours and drawings of the 21st Century” says Emmeline Hallmark, a specialist at Christie’s in London.
On the whole, if you’re buying the original published artwork from a successful book by a well-known illustrator, it’s invariably a good investment. When I say successful, it could be in terms of sales, or in terms of critical acclaim. However, I always tell my customers that they should only buy what they like. After all, the picture is possibly going to hang on their walls for the rest of their lives. The preliminary drawings can be equally as good an investment. Recently, our exhibition of Anthony Browne’s preliminary drawings from some of his classic picture books was an outstanding success. The “behind the scenes” drawings reveal the technical skill of the artist in a way the finished piece sometimes hides. The alternatives aren’t as highly valued, but from those illustrators, like Axel Scheffler, who don’t sell any of their published work, it can still be a good investment.
Is there much on the market?
This varies from illustrator to illustrator. Some are loath to sell their work comparing it to parting with their babies! So when they do, it has a rarity factor and the price does reflect this. Others are quite happy to let their artwork go, seeing it more as a release from something they have spent up to a year (or more in some cases) working on. Either way, each piece is unique and unless a print has been made of it, there’s only the one available.
Where would you hang a children’s book illustration?
Most of the pictures would be happy in any room of the house or office and they always invite a response from the observer, generally a large smile. Those children who have them bought for their bedrooms are very lucky indeed!
How should I get it framed?
If you trust us to judge for you, we can get the artwork framed before it is delivered to you. Just call to discuss the details. However, sometimes it’s easier to get it done yourself and although the frame depends on personal taste, you should always use an acid-free mount card to prevent discolouration of the art paper. Personally, I prefer a simple frame that doesn’t detract from the illustration, and generally it’s advisable to give the image plenty of space around it.