Pirate, Pants and Wellyphants - The Illustrated World of Nick Sharratt
Pirate, Pants and Wellyphants - The Illustrated World of Nick Sharratt

Pirate, Pants and Wellyphants - The Illustrated World of Nick Sharratt

20 July - 3 November


Nick Sharratt, the man behind the instantly recognisable illustrations for Jacqueline Wilson’s Tracy Beaker books, is now the subject of a new colourful, humorous and hands-on exhibition. Pirates, Pants and Wellyphants – The Illustrated World of Nick Sharratt, opens at The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle on 20 July and continues until 3 November.


Exploring Nick’s passion for drawing, from childhood to his current status as an internationally renowned illustrator and author, the show features many of the well-known characters that Nick has illustrated over the years. These include Tracy Beaker, Daisy, Hetty Feather and Pirate Pete, as well as a host of animals and vast quantities of food and clothing.


Visitors can immerse themselves in Nick’s world, find out about his childhood, what inspired him to become an illustrator and meet a host of the characters that he has created throughout his career. The exhibition includes a recreation of Nick’s studio where visitors can have a go at drawing a selection of his characters using a light box and there’s a touch screen interactive where you can create your own digital ‘Sharracter’.  A wipe clean wall is available for everyone to have a go at drawing their own Nick Sharratt inspired picture, young visitors and those that are young at heart, will enjoy dressing up in a selection of whacky costumes, including a mermaid’s tail, some very fancy pants and a pineapple. 


By the age of nine, Nick knew he wanted to be an illustrator and the show includes original artworks he produced at school, family photographs of him as a boy and copies of the childhood books which influenced and inspired his style and use of colour – books such as Two Can Toucan, The Giant Jam Sandwich and The General. The exhibition will also feature a selection of work from his college days as well as his first commissions and examples of his illustrations and packaging designs for well-known magazines and retailers. 


His career is now focused entirely on children’s books, covering all age ranges and he works with authors including Jacqueline Wilson, Jeremy Strong, Michael Rosen and Julia Donaldson, as well as producing his own books, where bright colour, bold line and humour are key elements in his work. The show also features the hilarious ‘Ketchup on your Cornflakes’, written and illustrated by Nick, and ‘Pants’ by Giles Andreae.


To give an idea of the range of his work, the exhibition includes a reading area, with specially designed rugs and beanbags, where visitors can sit and enjoy a wealth of the books that Nick has written and illustrated, from board books for toddlers to a selection of Jacqueline Wilson novels aimed at older readers. 


Nick Sharratt said: “The Bowes Museum has a special place in my heart. I first visited when I was eleven and I've been back many, many times since. It's one of my favourite places. So I'm over the moon that my Pirates, Pants and Wellyphants exhibition will be on display there for the next few months. I'm really looking forward to being at the Museum on the opening day and meeting everyone who comes along.”

Nick Sharratt has written at least 40 children's books, illustrated close to 250 more and the picture books with which he has been involved have had combined sales of more than nine million. His long-running partnership with Jacqueline Wilson began with The Story of Tracy Beaker in 1991. Their books have sold more than 35 million copies in Britain.


Nick studied graphic design at St Martin's School of Art in London and worked as a magazine illustrator for 10 years before turning to children's books. His numerous awards include the Children's Book Award, the Nestlé Children's Book Award, The Right Start Award (book category), the Under Fives non-fiction She/WH Smith Award and the Educational Writers Award. He was the official illustrator for World Book Day in 2006 and is also the proud recipient of a gold Blue Peter Badge!


Notes to editors


Nick Sharratt will be at The Bowes Museum on Saturday July 20, 2019.


To see more of Nick Sharratt please visit http://nicksharratt.com/


This exhibition has been supported using public funding by Arts Council England


It has been developed in collaboration with 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe, darts (Doncaster Community Arts) and The Civic, Barnsley.





·         The Bowes Museum was created over 100 years ago by an extraordinary couple, John and Joséphine Bowes.  Together they built up the greatest private collection of fine and decorative arts in the North of England and constructed a magnificent building to house them in.  The collection contains thousands of objects including furniture, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, textiles and many other items covering an extensive range of European styles and periods. 

  • The Bowes Museum receives a core funding grant from Durham County Council and as a Major Portfolio Museum receives support from Arts Council England.
  • Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk
  • The Bowes Museum has undergone major redevelopment, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, One NorthEast through the County Durham Economic Partnership, English Heritage, Northern Rock Foundation, The Monument Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Foyle Foundation, The European Regional Development Fund, DCMS/Wolfson Museum and Galleries Improvement Fund, Designation Challenge Fund, The Shears Foundation, The Richard and Suzanna Tonks Family Fund at County Durham Foundation, Durham County Council, The Friends of The Bowes Museum, The Headley Trust, Sir James Knott Trust, Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust, Fenwick Ltd, Mercers Charitable Foundation, Welton Foundation.

·         The Bowes Museum is a member of the Discover Durham partnership of attractions. Our commitment is to promote Durham as an exciting and vibrant group travel destination and to provide the travel trade with a professional and knowledgeable service: hotline number 03000 262626, www.discoverdurham.co.uk




The Bowes Museum is closed!

Due to the government announcement on Thursday 17 December, that County Durham is to remain in COVID tier 3 restrictions, The Bowes Museum unfortunately will remain closed to all visitors.

As we have already been shut for a number of weeks and there is much uncertainty around possible further restrictions, we have decided to use this period to undertake some work in Caf� Bowes, alongside performing some much-needed structural repairs to the building, notably to the windows. January and February are usually quieter times for the Museum, often due to severe weather, so we believe that this is the best time to carry out such works with the least amount of disruption to our visitors.

We have therefore decided to remain closed for a period of four weeks following any near-future tier 2 announcement from the government, as this will allow us time to deep clean the Museum prior to reopening our doors once again. We will, of course, keep you updated as the guidelines change.

Your ongoing support during these unprecedented times is hugely appreciated and we very much look forward to welcoming you back into the building as early as possible in 2021.

Do please remember, however, that the Museum�s park and grounds remain open to visitors from 10.00 � 4.00 daily, and that we are currently hosting a woodland fairy trail, clues can be found here.

We hope to be able to offer a few COVID-safe outdoor events over the coming months, about which we shall make further announcements as soon as possible.