The Tiger Comes to Tea At Osterley House

Over 50 years of Judith Kerr's book celebrated in new exhibition

Judith Kerr: The Tiger Who Came to Tea

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Osterley Park and House is holding an exhibition that will explore the life and celebrate the work of one of Britain's best known author–illustrators for children, Judith Kerr.

Focusing on The Tiger Who Came to Tea, which many regard as the country’s best loved illustrated children’s book, the exhibition features high quality facsimiles of Judith Kerr’s original illustrations from the Seven Stories collection and promises to bring this book to life for a new generation of family audiences.

Visitors will also see original notes and sketches, and children will enjoy stepping into Sophie’s kitchen to have tea with a life-size tiger. Craft activities, storytelling and a Garden Trail.

Neil Cole, General Manager at Osterley Park and House, said, “We’re very much looking forward to hosting the Tiger at Osterley. This special exhibition has something for all ages, as visitors get the chance to step inside the much-loved picture book. The world of The Tiger Who Came to Tea will even continue beyond the exhibition into the Gardens, Café and Shop, creating a very special day out.”

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.

The exhibition, originated by Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books, explores Judith’s childhood and her experiences of having to escape Germany as Hitler came to power, as how it felt to be a refugee in Switzerland, then France, before finally settling in London in 1936. Judith writes about these experiences through three semi-autobiographical novels for older children in her Out of the Hitler Time trilogy, through the story of her alter ego Anna.

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 Osterley Park and House 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 Tiger Who Came to Tea runs from Saturday 11 January – Sunday 1 March 2020

Normal admission charges apply.

For further information and opening dates and times visit


January 21, 2020

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