Illustrated Menagerie at Portsmouth Guildhall

Illustrated Menagerie at Portsmouth Guildhall

Illustrated Menagerie, an annual project undertaken by first year BA (Hons) Illustration students at the School of Art and Design, and curated by senior lecturer in Illustration Nicola Hay, has been selected by a panel of judges for a group exhibition of work to be displayed in Portsmouth Guildhall.

Bears, dogs, foxes, goats, sharks, hawks, cats, toads, stags and rats are just some of many animals the characteristics of which Shakespeare imbues his characters. As part of the ‘Much Ado about Portsmouth’ festival in April 2016, Portsmouth will be host to a festival marking the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. These animals are just some of the thirty one creatures featured in the group piece which will be on display from 9am – 5pm every weekday and 10am – 2pm on Saturdays in the Freda Swain Business Lounge.

The Illustrated Menagerie is taking part in this year’s Much Ado About Portsmouth festival focusing on Shakespeare’s Animals for its subject matter and has created a scroll illustrating the animals of Shakespeare attempting to imbue the illustrations with something of the spirit Shakespeare intended. The imagery reflects the range of exploration of media and imagery to convey the creatures and is as varied as the animals themselves.

Central to the nature of the project is the research undertaken by the students to get ‘under the skin’ of their animal of choice, to seek to represent it in a wide variety of ways, and explore and test the results against Shakespeare’s literal and figurative use of animals in his writings. The interdisciplinary breadth of research will have students looking at their animal literally from the inside out and involves a thorough understanding of the physiology, behavior and habitat of the creature as well as the history of its representation, its social and cultural meanings and of course how its characteristics are employed within Shakespeare’s plays.

Launch Event: 6pm, Friday 22 April
Dates: 22 April – 7th June 2016
Weekdays: 9am–5pm
Saturdays: 10am–2pm

Find out more about this month’s ‘Much Ado about Portsmouth’ festival at:


Illustrated Menagerie at Portsmouth Guildhall


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