This summer, much-loved Beano characters are setting up home at Mottisfont, in Hampshire, for a vibrant new exhibition exploring 80 years of mischief and mayhem.
Opening next Saturday (20th July), look out for top Beano artist Nigel Parkinson on the day, doodling for fans for the launch. He’ll be there until 12 noon.
From black-and-red beginnings to the full-colour capers of today, Beano Time Travellers! explores the heritage of the longest running children’s comic in Britain. Outside, kids can whizz back through Mottisfont’s past with their favourite Beanotown residents in a bespoke trail.
Mottisfont’s terrific-sounding exhibition includes the original artwork for the first “Minnie the Minx” comic, which has never been shown publicly before. You’ll find out how Minnie was created, as well as see work from her current illustrator, Laura Howell.
Dennis and his best friend Gnasher take centre stage in the exhibition too, with artworks showing how the characters’ designs have developed from the 1950s to the present day. The exhibition explores iconic moments which have firmly fixed these characters into the public consciousness, such as “The great Gnational Gnasher Search’ in the 1980s.
The exhibition also takes visitors ‘back to school’ with comics and artworks featuring the Bash Street Kids.
On show will be colourful covers and special editions, showing the timeline of Beano from its first beginnings up to the present day; from Second World War stories to commentary on modern celebrity culture.
It’s an exhibition for all ages, with labels for children and adults throughout. The show reveals fascinating insights into the comic-making process, from initial artist’s sketches to final prints.
For the collectors, there’s vintage merchandise including a Beano bicycle and a pair of decorated Doc Martens. There’ll be photo opportunities too, dressing up and comics to read.
A unique highlight of the show is Mottisfont’s immortalisation in comic strip form. A giant frieze on the walls of the visitor reception building reveals what happens when Beano kids create a time machine during a school trip to the former medieval priory.
Families can re-enact the story on Mottisfont’s outdoor trail, designed by the comic.
While on a school trip to Mottisfont, the notorious Beano characters create a time machine to experience some of the National Trust property’s 800 year-old history for themselves, but it breaks down, scattering pieces throughout the grounds. Help them hunt the gardens to piece it back together so they can return to the 21st century.
There’s an exciting opportunity for children to create their very own comic strip too, using a specially designed Beano template. Designs can be entered into a competition to win a unique Beano prize!
• Beano Time Travellers! takes place from Saturday 20th July – Sunday 8th September 2019, 11am (outdoor trail available from 10am) – 5pm. Normal property admission price only (please note that peak price applies for non-members for the August bank holiday). For visitors unable to access the second floor gallery, we have digital versions of exhibitions on iPads which are available on lower levels | Full details here on the National Trust web site
With thanks to Nigel Parkinson