The Royal Society for the Arts
The Childrens Laureates
16 September - 14 October 2023
In 2007, Royal artist and holographer Rob Munday FRSA, created four laser holographic portraits of the first four children’s laureates for the Unicorn Theatre in London.
1999 - 2001 Sir Quentin Blake, CBE, FCSD, FRSL, RDI
2001 - 2003 Anne Fine OBE, FRSL
2003 - 2005 Sir Michael Morpurgo, OBE, FRSL, FKC, DL
2005 – 2007 Dame Jacqueline Wilson, DBE, FRSL
Rob Munday worked with the Unicorn Theatre's official photographer Lisa Barnard to create the portraits, shooting them at his creative holography studio in Richmond-upon-Thames. The portraits were unveiled at the Unicorn Theatre in June 2007 in the presence of the sitters. All four were donated by Rob Munday to the Unicorn Theatre charity.
Left to right: Sir Quentin Blake CBE, Anne Fine OBE, Dame Jacqueline Wilson DBE, and Sir Michael Morpurgo OBE.
The Children's Laureate, now known as the Waterstones Children's Laureate, is a prestigious position awarded in the United Kingdom once every two years to a "writer or illustrator of children's books to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field." The role promotes the importance of children’s literature, reading, creativity and storytelling while promoting the right of every child to enjoy a lifetime of books and stories. Each Laureate uses their tenure to focus on an aspect #of children’s books – these have included poetry, storytelling, readers with disabilities and illustration.
The idea for the Children's Laureate originated from a conversation between (the then) Poet Laureate Ted Hughes and children's writer Michael Morpurgo.
The Unicorn Theatre is a children’s theatre that was founded in 1949 by Caryl Jenner and is a registered charity. An RIBA award–winning building was designed for the theatre and opened in 2005 on Tooley Street in the London Borough of Southwark.
See: Thank-you letter
Richard Hayle of the RSA wrote:
Rob's stunning holograms of our first four Children's Laureates have now been moved to the Mary Moser Room in RSA House, just along the corridor from the foyer pictured here.
Mary was a preeminent floral artist of the 18th Century and her work was first recognised by the RSA when she submitted paintings at the age of just 14. These original submissions are now on display in the Benjamin Franklin Room of the House.
Meanwhile, back in the Mary Moser Room, contemporary works by our Fellow Nour Saleh sit alongside Rob's holograms - as does the roll-call of our Royal Designers for Industry ... one of whom is the unique Quentin Blake, whose hologram features too.