What’s On


Petals and Claws

Revisiting The Owl Service fifty years on

Wednesday 26th March – Sunday 20th May

In August 1967 the acclaimed British author, Alan Garner OBE, published the classic children’s book The Owl Service. This supernatural thriller tells the story of Alison, Roger and Gwyn and their unwilling involvement in a recurring curse The tragic story of Blodeuwedd, from the Welsh chronicles The Mabinogion is replayed generation after generation and is the inspiration behind The Owl Service.

In the book the curse is awakened when the children discover a dinner service with a strange pattern of owls and flowers. This actual dinner service exists, and is owned by the Garner family. Several years ago the designer was identified as Christopher Dresser and this link has resulted in one of the original plates being donated to the Dorman Museum by the Garner family. The connection has also brought this exhibition to Middlesbrough and to the home of the largest public collection of works by Christopher Dresser.

The exhibition marks the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of The Owl Service and stems from conversations between photographer David Heke and Alan Garner and his wife Griselda.
It includes photography, video, painting, sculpture, music/soundscape, poetry and dance.

The participating artists include Liz Ellis (sculpture), Jenny Ryrie (painting), David Heke (photography and video), Chris Tally Evans (music/soundscape), Bettina Langlois (fine art upholstery), Anna Wigley (poetry and prose) and Jacqueline McCormick (dance).

All the artists were selected due to their interest in the story of Blodeuwedd from the Mabinogion and The Owl Service by Alan Garner.

Picture Hooks

24th May – 24th June 2018

Picture Hooks Logo


Picture Hooks is an organisation based in Edinburgh that provides opportunity and development for emerging picture book illustrators, helping them access the world of children’s publishing.
This mentoring scheme enables them to work closely with established and professional illustrators. They are carefully paired and during the course of a year, each illustrator studies the creative process of making a picture book, steps out of their comfort zone and finds new techniques and methods of working, with one to one guidance by their mentor.


This year the annual conference is taking place in Middlesbrough on the 19th May hosted by Central Library. Following on from this the Dorman museum will be exhibiting the work of the newly emerging children’s book illustrators and their mentors.
The exhibition will feature work by Hlin Davidsdottir mentored by Ross Collins, Anders Frang by Steve Anthony, Rachel Everitt by Debi Gliori, Hazel Dunn by Patrick Benson and Kirsti Beautyman by Helen Stephens.


Poster from a previous exhibition at the Dorman Museum
Poster from a previous exhibition at the Dorman Museum