When we visited Jim Kay’s Exhibition

October 4, 2016.

At the beginning of the year (just a few days after breaking the news that The Cursed Child was going to be published as a book), we started a trip around the United Kingdom to visit some Harry Potter places. After visiting the place where J.K. Rowling finished writing the Harry Potter series, we headed to Newcastle, to see Jim Kay’s exhibition at Seven Stories.

Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books in Newcastle put together this exhibition of original illustrations, sketches, models and final prints from the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

The Illustrating Harry Potter exhibition was open from 14 November 2015 until 17 April 2016 – but we decided to talk about it today, on the release day of the illustrated Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Watching his work on Level 6 of Seven Stories was an unexpected experience.We had already seen the illustrated book, so we were not expecting something new – but we were totally wrong. Not only his models, but the final illustrations and sketches blew our minds. The pencil sketches showed how Jim started to imagine some illustrations, and how he made some tests on them. From portraits, to Hogwarts architecture – they were wonderful. But what was really amazing were the final portraits on wood of Albus Dumbledore and Minerva McGonagall. The details applied to these paintings were so incredible that I was pretty sure that they could be part of any museum.

It is hard – and useless – to try to put the exhibition into words. Today, the illustrated edition of Chamber of Secrets is released in the United Kingdom and the United States, and the only thing we can suggest is getting your copy. They are wonderful additions to any Harry Potter shelf – and I am sure they will become the best way to experience this Wizarding World created by J.K. Rowling.

After seeing both books produced by Jim Kay, I only hope to still have him for the rest of the series, because an entire set of books illustrated by him would be the nicest way to present Rowling’s words to the world.

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