Collecting Authorgraphs

I am very lucky to be able to spend my working days at Seven Stories, a unique museum that collects and preserves original manuscripts and illustrations from British children’s literature. Authors and illustrators visit on a regular basis and I stalk my hero’s and heroines to get my books signed.

Most of the illustrators like to include a little doodle.


This is from Paul Hess. I spent a day at his illustration masterclass and learned so much. He stamped the gold crown then drew the face.

I’ve chosen this illustration from my copy of The King with Horses Ears because look…..there’s a skinny dog!

Next up is Emily Gravett and of course I had to get her to sign my copy of Dogs.

And yes…….more skinny dogs!

I am a huge fan of Jane Ray so was delighted to the spend the day with her when she visited last summer. This time I got a delicate little bird.

Sleeping Beauty from Fairy Tales by Berlie Doherty illustrated by Jane Ray


We were delighted to welcome Shaun Tan to Seven Stories last year. The Artist’s Attic was full with people eager to meet the award winning author and illustrator.


I had to queue for this authorgraph!

 That is his actual finger print. A nifty way to sign a book eh?

A page from Eric, my favourite story from Tales from Outer Suburbia

Anthony Browne delivered an illustration masterclass earlier this year and you can find out all about my day with him here.

My very own Willy the Chimp

This is how Anthony signed my book, a reminder of a brilliant day with a brilliant man.


Detail from Little Beauty


And finally, my favourite illustrator ever is Shirley Hughes. I know she is not particularly fashionable these days but I love her sketchy, observational style. And my favourite picture book happens to be Dogger. A friend bought it for my daughter for her third birthday (she’s nineteen now) and we read it over and over. It was first published in 1977 but for me, has lost none of its charm.


A couple of years ago, Shirley Hughes created a special illustration for Seven Stories fifth birthday. Kate Edwards, the chief executive, travelled down to London to collect it from Hughes and very kindly took my rather tatty copy of Dogger to be signed. Even though I didn’t get to meet the author and illustrator myself this is one of my treasured literary possessions.

If you could choose an author or illustrator to sign a book, who would it be and why?


13 thoughts on “Collecting Authorgraphs

  1. Wow, oh wow! I am most envious of you. I adore Shaun Tan and Eric is one of my all time favourite illustrated books. I guess that if I could get any one illustrator to sign a book for me I go for John Tenniel, as “Alice in ..” is a favourite classic and possibly Quentin Blake as a contemporary illustrator as he is able to express so much with such simple lines. Love your blog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • The building was buzzing when Shaun Tan visited. We had people from all over the country and even France in the audience. And as far as loving blogs is concerned, the feeling is mutual 😉 Hope you’re feeling better.

  2. Dogger! That was my favorite book as a kid, a beautiful book. I’ve just had a huge wave of memories seeing the cover! 🙂 What a lovely job you have!!!

  3. Wow – what a fab place to work! I had only heard of Shirley Hughes before – Molly has an anthology of hers – she is old school but brilliant nonetheless. Shaun Tan’s work looks amazing. It almost makes me want to do illustration again.

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