The display presents a selection of attractive works on paper, which illustrate the first book of fiction for children published by the V&A: Clara Button and the Magical Hat Day (2011).
The story is set in the V&A and uses well-known works from the collection, such as Tipu’s tiger. The whole narrative is inspired by the celebrated surrealist ‘Hat for Eating Bouillabaisse’ by Eileen Agar (1937).
Playing on the subtle boundary between reality and fantasy, the authors show how museum exhibits can tell different stories in addition to those provided by their actual historical context. The reader is thus carried away by the active imagination of the child Clara Button who transforms the museum into a fantastic new world.
The author Professor Amy de la Haye is the Roostein Hopkins Chair of Dress History and Curatorship at London College of Fashion. She was formerly a curator at the V&A. The artist Emily Sutton graduated in Illustration from Edinburgh College of Art in 2008. She also studied at York College and Rhode Island School of Design, and specialises in children’s book illustrations.