Ladybird Books “Story of Football” art exhibition at National Football Museum

art from The Story of Football, illustrated by Jack Matthew

art from The Story of Football, illustrated by Jack Matthew

The National Football Museum is exhibiting a display of original football-inspired artwork from Ladybird Books until the end of October 2015.

Celebrating 100 years of Ladybird books, the display features artwork from the Ladybird footballing classic The Story of Football first published in 1964, written by Vera Southgate (who also wrote many of Ladybird’s “Well Loved Tales” books, such as Rapunzel and Cinderella) and featuring art by Jack Matthew.

The book proudly offered proclaimed to readers:

“Here is a story which will interest every boy, and encourage even the most reluctant young reader to get extra reading practice.”


“With simple text and superb full-colour illustrations it tells the story of Football from the days when hundreds of men took part in one game to the present day cup finals.”

One wonders how the Football Story might be presented today, with the huge interest in women’s football and all the goings on at FIFA? Perhaps someone should call Middlesbrough FC’s Artist in Residence, comics ace Richard Piers Rayner?

The Easy on the Eye web site, which carries biographies of all the Ladybird artists, including Dan Dare creator Frank Hampson, notes Jack Matthew was born in 1911 and grew up in Oldham, Lancashire, studying wood engraving, lithography and illustratio at Oldham School of Art and at Goldsmiths’ College.

In addition to his Ladybird work, which also included The Story of Cricket, he was a prolific illustrator of crime fiction and much more during his career.

• Ladybird Books: The Story of Football runs in the Game Zone on level 1 of the National Football Museum, the Urbis Building, Cathedral Gardens, Manchester M4 3BG until 31st October 2015. Admission to the Museum is free.

Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 10.00am-5.00pm; Sunday 11.00am-5.00pm. Telephone number: 0161 605 8200

More Information on the exhibition here on the National Football Museum web site

• You can buy a wooden postcard for just £3.95 based on the 1964 cover from the Wooden Postcard Company

• Vintage Ladybird Official Site: www.vintageladybird.com

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The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



Categories: Art and Illustration, Events, Exhibitions

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