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Creating newest art in place where oldest art was discovered!

Posted onPosted on 2nd Oct

Award-winning illustrator and former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell is coming to Creswell Crags for an exclusive evening event set in one of the caves at the archaeological park.

On Saturday 14th October, Chris will be reading poetry from the most recent book he has illustrated, ‘Gods and Monsters’, in Robin Hood Cave, before returning to the museum to deliver a live talk and drawing session.

Having been inspired by the history of Creswell Crags, Chris’s new illustrations will have a pre-historic twist.  Chris will be talking about his work as an illustrator and highlighting the drawings he has created for the new book, a collection of poems inspired by Gods and Monsters stretching back across the millennia and compiled by Ana Sampson.

Creswell Crags has a long history of art and folklore.  Church Hole Cave is home to the oldest Ice Age cave art in the country, with engravings carved into the stone walls by our ancestors over 12,000 years ago.  There are many theories behind the creation of this art, but one could be that our ancestors were telling stories in these caves and the illustrations brought these tales to life.

Robin Hood Cave holds even more secrets, after the discovery 5 years ago of the largest collection of Witch Marks in the country on the cave walls.  These engravings, known as ‘Apotropaic’ or protection marks represent a way that people in the 1700s would try to protect themselves from evil spirits.  This was a time of Witchcraft and superstition, and the villagers of Creswell might have thought they needed protecting from evil spirits that might come lurking out of the caves.

The event with Chris Riddell is part of a dual anniversary at Creswell Crags this year as the team have been celebrating the 20th anniversary of the discovery of the Rock Art and the fifth anniversary of the discovery of the Witch Marks.

Hannah Steggles, head of Public Engagement, said: ‘Hosting this event with Chris Riddell is really exciting for us.  As an award-winning illustrator, Chris has helped to narrate some of the most memorable children’s books of recent times.  The connection to art and storytelling at the Crags dates back thousands of years and this event will inspire the next generation of artists and narrators, which is something we love to do here!’

For details about the evening with Chris Riddell on Saturday 14th October and to book tickets visit: