A Life Illustrated

Works by John Burningham

This February we will be staging a unique and exciting sale of works by author and illustrator John Burningham. The sale includes original artwork of many of his most famous books including Borka: The Adventures of a Goose with No Feathers; Cannonball Simp and Mr Gumpy’s Outing as well as a number of Burningham's eye catching posters designed in his distinctive illustrative style for London Transport in the early 60s to promote coach and underground travel.



Borka The Goose
Lot 59 | JOHN BURNINGHAM (B. 1936)
Mixed media with collage, framed, signed on label verso , 42cm x 67cm (16.5in x 26.25in)
Estimate £3,000-5,000 + fees



Born in Farnham, Surrey in 1936 Burningham continues to produce books today. Winnner of the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal for Children's book illustration twice; the first in 1963 for his debut as illustrator (and author), Borka: The Adventures of a Goose With No Feathers (subsquently named one of the top ten winning works for the 50th anniversary of the Medal (1955–2005)) and again in 1970 for Mr Gumpy's Outing (1970). The illustrator is also well-known for his work with James Bond author Ian Fleming on the children's adventure serial called Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang. It was initially published in three volumes, the first of which was released on 22 October 1964 by Jonathan Cape in London.



Mr Grumpys Motor Car

Lot 21 | JOHN BURNINGHAM (B. 1936)
Pencil, ink, pastel and crayon, framed, signed on label verso, approx. 30cm x 70cm (12in x 27.5in)
Estimate £2,000-3,000 + fees



Although Burningham is best known for many of children's books, his creative output is wide-ranging. A successful and varied freelance career has allowed him the opportunity to work in Israel on an animated puppet film, to design posters, covers for the RIBA Journal, exhibitions, models, magazine illustrations, advertisements and even a railway station and train carriages for the Expo 90 in Osaka, Japan. His adult books have included his perceptive observations of life in England and in France and he has addressed issues of aging in The Time of Your Life and childhood in When We Were Young and most recently he has explored our fascination with the 'King of Wines' in John Burningham's Champagne.

The auction will also include works by John's wife, Helen Oxenbury, and his daughters Lucy and Emily Burningham, his son Bill has followed his father's passion for building restoration projects. John and Helen met at students at Central School of Arts and Crafts where Helen was studying theatre design. She changed her career to illustrating children's books after they were married and their children were young. Emily runs an established design studio which is known for its sophisticated print designs which reference time-honoured wood-block printing. Emily designs the decorative textiles and her paper range is designed in collaboration with her sister Lucy.



John Burningham
Author and illustrator John Burningham



Alongside his illustrative work John has also had a lifelong love affair with the applied arts and restoring buildings - "an interesting building, door, or window can please me as much as a painting or a drawing" - the sale will also include a selection of furniture, tiles and objects from his collection at home.

“This is a rare opportunity to buy original artworks by one of our most popular children’s authors and illustrators. John’s books have a special place in many people’s hearts, bringing fond memories of childhood. The illustrations are successful because they tell the story in an unforgettable way - they bring the stories to life.“ John Machie, Specialist

Burningham has contributed to more than sixty other books and has received many other awards for his work. In 2012 he was one of five finalists for the Hans Christian Andersen Award is the highest international recognition given to an author and an illustrator of children's books, and which recognises a living "illustrator whose complete works have made lasting contributions to children's literature."




Dates for your Diary


Auction | Illustrated & Animated: The Collections of John Burningham & John Blundall | 28 February 2018 in Edinburgh
Full Viewing in Edinburgh | 25 to 27 February | 12noon to 4pm on Sunday, 10am to 5pm weekdays
33 Broughton Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3RR


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