The John Barrow collection of framed original artworks is a visual documentary of an important period in the history of Australian children’s literature. It covers the years from the 1980’s through the early 2000’s. The 1980’s in particular were a boom time for publishers and creators of picture books, when many illustrators, well known today, were just beginning their careers. The collection reflects different styles of illustration, book design and publishing trends over these 25 years. It was an important era as Australian picture books were recognised as fresh, innovative and increasingly, world-class.
There are other collections of artworks related to Australian children’s books across Australia including collections at the National Library of Australia, the various State Libraries across Australia as well as personal collections. Some of these may be ‘undiscovered’. Others may have little information known about them.
The John Barrow Framed Artwork Collection was donated in 2016 by Ann James AM to the Centre under the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program. Private collectors such as Peter Williams has donated his collection to the State Library of Western Australia and Albert Ullin donated his collection to the State Library of Victoria and the National Gallery of Victoria.
Read what The Canberra Times had to say about the John Barrow Collection.