New Exhibition Celebrating More Than 50 Years Of Britain’s Best Loved Picture Book To Open At York Castle Museum!

Arts & CraftsMuseum

A new exhibition celebrating the work of one of Britain’s best known children’s author–illustrators Judith Kerr is coming to York Castle Museum. From 10 September 2022, ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ will fill the community space, exploring Kerr’s life and creations, and marking the 50th anniversary of the much-loved classic. 

Originated by Seven Stories and the National Centre for Children’s Books, ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ exhibition features high quality facsimiles 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. Alongside facsimiles of original artwork, notes and sketches children will enjoy stepping into Sophie’s kitchen to have tea with a life-size tiger!

To mark the arrival of this inspiring exhibition, York Castle Museum have teamed up with Hoglets Theatre to offer a range of free family friendly activities including early years interactive storytelling and story writing workshops for older children.  With further opportunities to have Breakfast with the Tiger, there will be something for the whole family to enjoy!

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.   

Fiona Burton, Public Engagement Manager at York Museums Trust, said: “We’re thrilled to host ‘The Tiger Who Came To Tea’ at York Castle Museum this autumn! It’s such an insightful, nostalgic and fun display, which we hope people of all ages will enjoy as part of their visit to the museum. We hope people can reminisce at the stunning illustrations and immerse themselves in the story by visiting Sophie’s kitchen and sitting alongside the life-sized Tiger!”

Gillian Rennie, Head of Exhibitions 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 York Castle 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 where we discover how Judith developed into the artist and story teller 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.

Kris McKie, Head of Collections at Seven Stories said: “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 Tiger Who Came to Tea’ opens at York Castle Museum on 10 September 2022. Visitors can explore the new display as part of their general admission ticket to York Castle Museum.

The Museum is open daily, Monday from 11am – 5pm and Tuesday – Sunday from 10am – 5pm. Pre-booking is advised at

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