Author and illustrator Nicholas Allan, whose books include as Father Christmas Needs a Wee and The Queen's Knickers (Red Fox), is donating his entire archive to Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books.
The donation includes final artwork for 21 titles and sketches and dummy books, including a dummy book of Granny’s Longest Holiday, an unpublished story about a child’s eye view of her granny’s funeral that later inspired The Queen’s Knickers. Allan also donated artwork from ‘Hilltop Hospital’, an animated TV show, and 36 pieces of finished artwork from Father Christmas Needs a Wee (Red Fox).
Nicholas Allan said: “Handing over the archive was a double relief, (though I'll miss it). The first was the more immediate - that they wouldn't go up in flames due to the precarious age of Lambeth Tavern, where I live. The second sense of relief was that the work will be always preserved and available in such a perfect setting.”
Allan’s gift marks the first time a living artist has donated their entire work through the Arts Council’s Cultural Gift Scheme, which enables UK taxpayers to donate important works of art to be held for the benefit of the public or the nation. In return, donors receive a tax reduction based on a set percentage of the value of the item they donate.
Sarah Lawrance, director at Seven Stories, said: “We’re very excited about this. Nicholas Allan's humorous treatment of serious subjects is unique within our illustration holdings, and a substantial body of work such as this creates numerous opportunities for exhibitions and programming. We’re also proud to be the recipient of the first artwork to be offered as a gift to the nation by a living artist through the ACE Cultural Gifts Scheme. Seven Stories has a track record of exciting ‘firsts’ so this feels very fitting.”