Blistering Barnacles! New Tintin Exhibition opens at Somerset House

Tintin by Hergé © Hergé / Moulinsart 2015

Tintin by Hergé © Hergé / Moulinsart 2015

Just opened at London’s Somerset House is TINTIN: Herge’s Masterpiece, a new, free exhibition has just opened is well worth a visit that runs until January 2016.

Tintin expert Michael Farr gives a guided tour of the new exhibition at London's Somerset House. Photo: Simon Doyle

Tintin expert Michael Farr gives a guided tour of the new exhibition at London’s Somerset House. Photo: Simon Doyle

Stepping inside the wonderfully eccentric world of artist-author Hergé and Tintin, his intrepid young reporter, the exhibition will explore the evolution of the artwork of Hergé, from the simplicity of early newspaper strips to the genre-defining graphic work of the later books.  Drawing on the archives of the Hergé Museum in Belgium, TINTIN: Hergé’s Masterpiece will feature pencil sketches, character drawings, and watercolours alongside original artwork from the finished stories.

“It’s quite compact, but none the worse for it,” Tintin fan Simon Doyle tells us, who was at the launch that included a guided tour by journalist Michael Farran expert on the Tintin canon who as well as writing several original books on the subject, has translated many of Hergé’s albums into English.

“It will allow the casual visitor to stroll through and feel that they have seen a good cross-section of his work and life-story, but has enough detail in the choice of exhibits to give the more dedicated fan a lot to stop and see.

“Add to that some very striking decor running throughout, including good use of the architecture of the venue, and some amazing models built for this exhibition, and it looks like it should be a great success.”

The exhibition reveals plenty about the man behind the masterpiece, a comic creator who had an enduring fascination with architecture and design. With his skill as an illustrator and a draughtsman’s eye for design, the settings in which the stories were played out were always rendered in meticulous detail.

Models/installations of memorable locations such as Tintin’s apartment are on display and the exhibition is themed with reference to one of Hergé’s favourite backdrops – Marlinspike Hall, Captain Haddock’s country house once owned by his maritime ancestor, Sir Francis Haddock. With a similar neoclassical splendour and nautical history as the former home of the Navy Board and office of Lord Nelson, Somerset House makes a compelling site from which to share Hergé’s own story.

One of the Tintin dioramas on display. Photo: Simon Doyle

One of the Tintin dioramas on display. Photo: Simon Doyle

TinTin Exhibition - Somerset House. Photo: Simon Doyle

Photo: Simon Doyle

Marlinspike Hall Model. Image: Somerset House

Marlinspike Hall Model. Image: Somerset House

mage: Somerset House. Tintin by Hergé © Hergé / Moulinsart 2015

mage: Somerset House. Tintin by Hergé © Hergé / Moulinsart 2015

Since he first appeared in Hergé’s weekly cartoon strip in Le Petit Vingtième in Brussels in 1929, Tintin has become one of the most iconic comic-strip heroes along with a supporting cast of his trusty dog Snowy, Captain Haddock, Professor Calculus, and Thomson and Thompson. With more than 200 million copies of the famous 24 ‘albums’ sold worldwide which also recently inspired a Hollywood movie directed by Steven Spielberg, Hergé’s iconic hero has exploded genres and expectations, bringing readers of all ages to his stories for their unique mixture of artistry, history, and adventure.

TINTIN: Hergé’s MasterpieceTINTIN: Hergé’s Masterpiece coincides with the release of a book of the same name by journalist and art critic, published by Pierre Sterckx, translated by Michael Farr, published by Rizzoli, author of several books on Tintin and Hergé, as well as monographs on artists from Pablo Picasso to Andy Warhol.

Described as the definitive monograph on the art of Tintin, utilising materials from the archives of the Hergé Museum in Brussels, looking at the evolution of Hergé’s artwork, from the simplicity of the early newspaper strips to the sophisticated graphic work of the later books. An avid art collector, Hergé was inspired by Old Masters but infatuated with graphic design and modern art, from the Constructivist work he studied in his youth to the Lichtensteins and Mirós he would travel to see in his maturity. With rarely seen pencil sketches, character drawings, and watercolors alongside original artwork from the finished stories, the book illuminates Tintin’s progress from whimsical caricature to profound icon and reveals Hergé’s parallel development from cartoonist to artist.

TINTIN: Hergé’s Masterpiece 12th November 2015 – 31st January 2016, Terrace Rooms, South Wing, Somerset House, The Strand, London WC2R 1LA. Open daily 10.00-18.00 (last entry 17.15). Late night Thursdays & Fridays until 21.00 (last admission 20.15) from 19th November. Free admission More information here on the Somerset House web site

Read an interview with Michael Farr in The Guardian

Tintin by Hergé © Hergé / Moulinsart 2015

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.



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