Book and exhibition launch at the Cooper Gallery

The Cooper Gallery hosted a special event on Thursday, 7 September, where the Brian Wildsmith book, Paws, Claws, Tails and Roars was launched for the first time in collaboration with Oxford University Press (OUP).

The Wildsmith family joined the event virtually, and the occasion was marked by a special reading of the book to local school children by storyteller extraordinaire Mama G.

The stunning book answers the call of the wild from one of the world's finest illustrators, presented with a foreword from one of the shining stars of children's literature, Michael Rosen. Brian Wildsmith's breath-taking animal paintings are accompanied by new lyrical text, inviting readers to pause a while and linger over the glorious wild animals, birds, and fishes within. Whether already a fan of Brian Wildsmith, or discovering his work for the first time, readers will cherish this book for a lifetime.

On the same day, there was two special announcements including the arrival of two Brian Wildsmith-themed exhibitions at Barnsley Museums in 2024.

On display between April and September will be - Coming Home: The Life of Brian Wildsmith at Experience Barnsley Museum and Paws, Claws, Tales & Roars: The Art of Brian Wildsmith at the Cooper Gallery. Both will be a treat for visitors of all ages. It is fitting for the spectacular displays to be shown in Barnsley as Brian himself was born locally in Penistone.

As part of the exhibitions a competition for young people in Barnsley has been launched by Fusion, Barnsley's Local Cultural Education Partnership (LCEP), in collaboration with OUP, encouraging school-age children to create their own exciting artwork.

Cllr Robert Frost, Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said:  "Brian Wildsmith has made a huge contribution to children's literature and it's an honour for Barnsley to host the launch of this exquisite new book.  It's wonderful that children from across the borough will hear extracts and hopefully be inspired to discover more. The two exhibitions arriving in 2024 will feature beautiful original illustrations and stunning artworks that will light up the Cooper Gallery and Experience Barnsley Museum throughout summer."

For more information about the exhibitions visit

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