Arts + Entertainment

The Tiger Who Came To Tea Comes To Bateman’s

Bateman’s is delighted to present an exhibition that will explore the life and celebrate the work of one of Britain’s best known author–illustrators for children, Judith Kerr.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the much-loved classic The Tiger Who Came to Tea the exhibition, originated by Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books, features high quality facsimiles of Judith Kerr’s original illustrations from the Seven Stories collection and promises to bring this delightful book to life for a new generation of family audiences.

Steph Kinnaird, House Steward at Bateman’s said: “We are very excited to welcome The Tiger Who Came to Tea exhibition to Rudyard Kipling’s home in Burwash, East Sussex. Bateman’s is a house full of creative thoughts and literary works (some even featuring tigers) and it will be a joy to see another celebrated author/illustrator’s work on display in this historic setting.”

Alongside facsimiles of original artwork, notes and sketches children will enjoy stepping into Sophie’s kitchen to have tea with a life-size tiger, delve into the dressing-up chest and grab a mini stripy Tiger or Mog onesie and have fun making ‘tea’ in the fully interactive play kitchen. John Kipling’s bedroom has been transformed into Sophie’s bedroom from the story and where children can listen to a magical recording of the tale.

Throughout the exhibition, The Mulberry Tea room at Bateman’s is offering a delicious tiger themed tea including stripy veg grown in the garden.

Judith Kerr’s first picture book, The Tiger Who Came to Tea began as a bedtime story for her own children and was published in 1968.   It soon became a classic and by the time it celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2008, it had been translated into 11 languages and sold over five million copies.

Judith Kerr said: ‘I first told this story to my small daughter long ago. She was rather critical of my other stories but used to say, ‘Talk the tiger!’  So, when she and her brother were both at school and I had more time, I thought I would make it into a picture book – and much to my amazement, here it still is 50 years later.”

Sarah Lawrance, Joint Chief Executive at Seven Stories said:

Seven Stories is honoured to be the custodian of Judith Kerr’s archive and privileged to be curator of an exhibition that celebrates her remarkable life and her outstanding contribution to children’s literature.  Visitors to Bateman’s  will be treated to a unique opportunity to see reproductions of Judith’s precious artwork, which shows how, through a lifetime of looking and drawing, her stories have become part of our nation’s childhood.”

The exhibition gives a unique insight into Judith’s life and work, including access to childhood drawings where we discover how Judith developed into the artist and story teller we know today.  Visitors can also watch a short film, featuring children from Christ Church C of E Primary School in Newcastle upon Tyne. They have investigated why the issues of conflict and displacement are as relevant today as in the 1930s, including interviews and footage of Judith at work in her studio at home.

The exhibition runs Sat 7 September – Sun 3 November 11am – 4.00pm at Bateman’s, Bateman’s Lane, Burwash, East Sussex TN19 7DS. Find out more at

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