Published by Wills & Hepworth, Ladybird books helped many people learn to read. They were present at school and at home, with educational books on a myriad of subjects from art, science, history and culture, to well-loved fairytales and nursery rhymes. Despite being relatively cheaply produced, Ladybird commissioned some of the top illustrators at the time including Charles Tunnicliffe, Harry Wingfield, Martin Aitchison, Eric Winter, Robert Lumley, John Berry and Robert Ayton. Kathie Layfield and AJ MacGregor are two of the few women illustrators commissioned.
Books such as the iconic Shopping With Mother, with its quaint haberdashery shops and gentleman shopkeepers in white coats, give us a rose-tinted glimpse of a way of life which has long gone (and was fast disappearing even when the books were published). Nonetheless, Ladybird by Design is sure to be hugely popular, giving visitors to the exhibition a temporary respite from the stresses and strains of the modern world and taking them back to their respective happy places for a little while.