This summer, Weston Museum proudly presents Axel Scheffler: A Life in Illustration, a comprehensive exhibition celebrating the work of the UK’s number one bestselling illustrator, Axel Scheffler. Known for creating beloved characters like the Gruffalo and Stick Man, Axel’s illustrations have captivated children and adults alike.

Opening on 27th July 2024, this family-friendly exhibition offers the most extensive public display of Axel’s illustrations in the UK, providing visitors a rare opportunity to delve into his artistic brilliance. The exhibition celebrates the partnership between Axel and renowned author Julia Donaldson, showcasing artwork from over 150 books that reflect his luminous colour, expressive faces, and distinctive humour.

Exhibition Highlights

Visitors can explore Axel’s creative process, witnessing how his characters come to life, from his sketches to preparatory artwork to the final illustrations that feature in the books. The exhibition spans his early career, including his time at Bath Academy of Art in Corsham, to his more recent works like The Baddies, written by Julia Donaldson and Jim’s Spectacular Christmas, written by actress Emma Thompson.

Fifteen of the books created by Julia and Axel are featured, including their very first book, A Squash and a Squeeze. Visitors will see original illustrations from favourites such as The Gruffalo, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, Room on the Broom and Stick Man, all written by Julia Donaldson. Visitors will see the original artwork from a number of their books which have been developed into award-winning animations by Magic Light Pictures, including The Snail and the Whale and The Smeds and The Smoos.

There will also be artwork from Axel’s Pip and Posy series, which many visitors will recognise from the Channel 5 preschool series.

Reflecting on his connection to the region, Axel Scheffler said:

“I spent an unforgettable summer holiday in North Devon in 1975 and fell in love with South West England. I came back in 1982 to study visual communication at Bath Academy of Art in Corsham. Following the success of my exhibition at the Museum of Somerset in Taunton last year, I am pleased that children and families in Weston and the surrounding area will have the opportunity to visit the exhibition this year and hope that everyone enjoys it.”

Sarah Cox, Exhibitions Manager for Weston Museum, added:

“Axel’s books have been published in numerous languages and cherished worldwide. This exhibition allows visitors to explore his journey to becoming the UK’s most popular illustrator and witness the creation of these modern classics.”

This exhibition has been created in partnership with Events of Wonder, with support from Macmillan Children’s Books and Scholastic Children’s Books.

Exhibition Details

Dates: 27 July to 9 November 2024

Location: Weston Museum, Weston-Super-Mare

For more information, please visit