This exhibition is a rare opportunity to see children’s books from 1920s and 1930s Russia.
With a unique avant garde design and illustrations, they revolutionised picture books in the 20th century.
But the exhibition also shows how society was turned upside down and then torn apart. First, we see the aftermath of the Russian Revolution and the Civil War and then the repression during Joseph Stalin’s counter revolution in the 1930s.
The old Tsarist fairytales of ghosts and spirits were out, young Soviet pioneers were in.
Galina and Olga Chichagova’s poster illustrated this transition (pictured, above). “Out with mysticism and fantasy of children’s books,” it says.
In the centre of the poster the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin looks down.
Meanwhile, Pioneers, the Communist youth movement, build socialism.
Many of the illustrations came from the 1930s, so begin to look like Stalinist propaganda.
But the exhibition includes images untouched by this.
In How the Revolution was Won, Alisa Poret drew captivating images of the October Revolution.
As the Soviet period progresses, the stories become quite comical.
In one story by writer Samuil Marshak and illustrator Vladimir Lebedev, a capitalist eats too much ice cream and freezes to death.
Those interested in this period of illustration should check out this free archive at the University of Princeton, pudl.princeton.edu/collections/pudl0127
A New Childhood—Picture Books from Soviet Russia
The House of Illustration,
London N1C 4BH
Until 11 September
Adult tickets £7, children’s tickets £4 and family tickets £18
Anti-war photography exhibition strikes a chord
Imperial War Museum London,
London SE1 6HZ.
Until 4 September, free