Penguin Ventures and Penguin Random House have raised more than £10,000 for charity through its online The Snowman art auction, held in the run up to Christmas.
As part of the 40th anniversary of Raymond Briggs‘ The Snowman, Penguin asked leading children’s book illustrators to recreate the character in their own styles.
Quentin Blake, Adam Hargreaves, Shirley Hughes, Helen Oxenbury, Chris Riddell, Posy Simmonds, Andy Stanton, Ed Ver and the late John Burningham, who sadly passed away earlier this month aged 82, each paid homage to Briggs’ creation for the charity drive, their artworks then put on display at Brighton Museum, alongside an exhibition of the original illustrations from the book.
The exhibition included the “People’s Picture“, a giant photo mosaic of The Snowman, compiled from a over 2600 photos sent in by fans of the book, collected over just six weeks.
The £10,180 raised through an online auction, with Quentin Blake’s art selling for £2,245, won by an anonymous bidder, has now gone directly to Raymond Briggs’ chosen charity, Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice, of which he is a patron.
“I was very happy to be invited to take part in the celebration,” said Quentin Blake, who has been drawing ever since he can remember and has always made his living as an illustrator, “as I am a longstanding admirer of Raymond Briggs and his work.”
One of the world’s most acclaimed children’s illustrators and writers, Helen Oxenbury’s illustration sold for £1,950 and her work will go on display at Chestnut Tree House after being bought by a supporter of the charity.
“The Snowman is a sublime piece of visual storytelling that has entered the imaginations of generations of children” commented 2015 – 2017 UK Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell. “I was very lucky to be taught by Raymond Briggs and have boasted about that fact for many years.
“The Snowman was a huge influence on me as an illustrator as was the insight and encouragement of the man who made him.”
The auction also included three copies of the 40th anniversary edition of The Snowman, signed by Briggs.
“A key ambition for the 40th anniversary of The Snowman was to create an opportunity that celebrated Raymond Briggs as an artist, whilst simultaneously raising awareness of Chestnut Tree House, a charity that Raymond has supported for many years,” Isobel Richardson, Head of Brand Management at Penguin Ventures. ” We were overwhelmed at the response from world-renowned illustrators who were keen to pay tribute to Raymond and The Snowman and we are absolutely thrilled at the figure that the auction of their artworks has raised for the important care that Chestnut Tree House continues to provide.”
“We are incredibly grateful to our friend and Patron, Raymond Briggs, for his ongoing support of Chestnut Tree House,” said Janet Parsons, Head of Communications at Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice. “For over a decade, Raymond has helped us in various ways – both in terms of fundraising and increasing awareness of the specialist care we provide for life-limited children across Sussex and South East Hampshire.
“The £10,180 raised is incredible, and will pay for over 35 hours of Chestnut Tree House’s care services, both at the hospice and in families’ own homes. We hope that the initiative has also helped to raise awareness of the vital work that all children’s hospices do for their local communities.”
The 40th anniversary of The Smowman saw plenty of licensing celebratory licensing activity as well as the Brighton exhibition. Raymond Briggs himself was the focus of a new BBC documentary broadcast over the 2018 festive period, Raymond Briggs: Snowmen, Bogeymen & Milkmen, which is still available to view for a few more days on iPlayer.
• Chestnut Tree House is online at chestnut-tree-house.org.uk
• Raymond Briggs: Snowmen, Bogeymen & Milkmen – BBC 2018 documentary