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Literary Beards

Literary Beards is a free, public art exhibition at the Guille-Allès Library.

Thanks to the generous support of Art for Guernsey, a curated exhibition of these original Chris Riddell illustrations is on display in the Hayward Room from 16-26 March. If you can't make it during those dates, we are pleased to present a digital version below.

Gandalf - Appears in 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lord of the Rings' by J.R.R. Tolkien. ‘All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.’ The Sheriff of Nottingham - Appears in the legend of Robin Hood. ‘The Sheriff sighed, stroking his pointy beard. “This outlaw,” he muttered, “is like a splinter that I cannot remove.”’ Poseidon - Appears in 'The Iliad' and 'The Odyssey' by Homer. ‘Hear me, Poseidon who circle the earth, dark-haired. If truly I am your son, grant that Odysseus, sacker of cities, who makes his home in Ithaca, may never reach that home.’ Ahab - Appears in 'Moby-Dick' by Herman Melville. ‘Ahab and anguish lay stretched together in one hammock.’ Dumbledore - Appears in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. ‘Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.’ Tolstoy - Author of 'Anna Karenina' and 'War and Peace'. ‘We can know only that we know nothing. And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.’ Gimli - Appears in 'The Lord of the Rings' by J.R.R. Tolkien. ‘Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.’ Merlin - Appears in Arthurian legends. ‘The best thing for being sad is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails.’ Bluebeard - Appears in folktales and 'The Bloody Chamber' by Angela Carter. ‘Then, slowly yet teasingly, as if he were giving a child a great, mysterious treat, he took out a bunch of keys from some interior hidey-hole in his jacket – key after key, a key, he said, for every lock in the house.’ The Baker - Appears in 'The Hunting of the Snark' by Lewis Carroll. ‘It’s a Snark!’ was the sound that first came to their ears/And seemed almost too good to be true/Then followed a torrent of laughter and cheers/Then the ominous words ‘It’s a Boo–’

Chris Riddell

Chris Riddell is one of the UK’s leading illustrators and cartoonists.

Over a thirty-year career he’s illustrated more than 100 children’s books, including Paul Stewart’s The Edge Chronicles, Neil Gaiman’s The Sleeper and the Spindle, and his own much-loved series Ottoline and Goth Girl. His books and illustrations have won numerous awards, and in 2016 he became the first person to win the prestigious CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for a third time.

From 2015-17 Chris served as the UK’s Children’s Laureate, during which time he campaigned tirelessly in support of libraries, his lifelong passion. On a visit to the Guernsey Literary Festival in May 2017, in the final weeks of his laureateship, we welcomed him to our own library for a live event where he spoke about his books, answered questions from young fans, and wowed us all with some live drawing.

Impressed by the story of Library founders Thomas Guille and Frederick Allès, and still more impressed by their magnificent beards, on returning home he drew these fabulous illustrations for us, in a show of support for the Children’s Library Project.