John Burningham’s Bedtime Stories

John Burningham’s Bedtime Stories

Journey from first sketches to award-winning books in John Burningham’s Bedtime Stories showing at The Harley Gallery, from 7 October 2023 until 7 January 2024.

From featherless geese to flying cars, this exhibition promises to transport visitors into the magical world of Burningham's imagination.



John Burningham’s stories have captivated generations of readers. So whether visitors are reconnecting with childhood favourites – or discovering Burningham’s work for the first time, they are sure to enjoy this exhibition. Original sketchbooks, models, and photographs will reveal John Burningham’s creative life. The nine award-winning books in the exhibition include; Borka, The Adventures of a Goose with No Feathers, Harvey Slumfenburger’s Christmas Present, and Ian Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – illustrated by John Burningham. 

With a career spanning 60 years, John Burningham's wild and wonderful stories pioneered a change in books for children. The 1960s marked the start of a new creative era in picture books, with artists and illustrators experimenting with new developments in colour printing and more daring themes and ideas.

“John was a true original, a picture-book pioneer and an endlessly inventive creator of stories that could be hilarious, comforting, shocking and playful. He never spoke down to children, always treating them with the utmost respect.” Francesca Dow, Managing Director of Penguin Random House Children’s.

Lisa Gee, Director of the Harley Foundation, said, “John Burningham’s illustrations are incredibly sophisticated works of art, using so many different techniques and styles. His stories are touching and tender, as well as being very funny and rather complicated in their intent. They’re the kind of storybooks I love reading to children.”


Plan Your Visit 

John Burningham's Bedtime Stories is on show at the Harley Gallery from the 7th October 2023 until 7th January 2024. The Gallery is free to enter with free parking. For the latest visitor information, please click here.