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Peter Malone at the Royal Academy of Arts

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

BOOKS Illustrated Ltd are presenting the original artwork for a book entitled Close to the Wind – written and illustrated by Peter Malone and scheduled for launch by Putnam in the spring – at Lapada’s fair at the Royal Academy of Arts from May 10 to May 13, 2007.

Close to the Wind describes the thirteen-point wind scale created by Beaufort in 1810, thereby defining a standard way for sailors to describe wind conditions.

Through the diary of a young boy at sea in the nineteenth century, each point on the scale is masterfully illustrated, all with great attention to the detail of the water conditions, the vessel and the drama of the settings.

Malone studied at both Winchester and Coventry Schools of Art and became a teacher at the Bournemouth School of Art. He was chosen by the Royal Mail to create a series of stamps celebrating the Wonders of Children’s Classic Stories. These included the Narnian tales, The Borrowers and Alice in Wonderland.

Although Malone has a strong naval lineage, his interest in the Beaufort Scale stemmed from having lived near Captain Francis Beaufort’s house in Manchester Street and later, finding his tomb when he moved home to Hackney. Furthermore, in 1987 he experienced the greatest storm England had experienced since 1704, and actually felt the eighteen-inch thick walls of his house swaying slightly.

Other books illustrated by Malone include The Possibility of Angels, At the Opera, Gardens of the Imagination, The King Who Was and Will Be, How Many Miles to Bethlehem, My Mother’s Daughter, The Kingfisher Book of Fairy Tales, Peter and the Wolf, A World of Words, Princess Fairy Tales, The Forest Child, The Drowsy Hours, The Magic Flute, The Secret Language of Dreams, The Adventures of Odysseus and Star Shapes.

And his recent front cover illustrations include The Mysterious Circus, Corydon and the Island of Monsters, The Chronicler of the Winds and The Hounds and the Fury.

On Friday evening, May 11, 2007, Malone will make a rare appearance to discuss his art and sign copies of the book.