Paws, Claws, Tales & Roars: The Art of Brian Wildsmith

For the first time Brian’s personal collection of over 40 colourful original illustrations, early works, drawings and paintings will be on display in the beautiful setting of the Cooper Gallery. The walls will be filled with colour and vivid characters. It’s a perfect destination for art lovers of all ages and our younger visitors can enjoy our specially created forest activity area ‘Brian’s Wild Wood’, upstairs in the Sadler Room.

A space scene with planets including earth and spaceship that looks like a helicopter
The Amazing World of Words - Space © The Brian Wildsmith Estate, 2024. Reproduced with permission of The Brian Wildsmith Estate and Oxford University Press.

Brian's Wild Wood

Brian Wildsmith loved to be outdoors in nature with his sketchbook, pencils and paints. He would observe the world around him, then using his imagination, create wonderful stories for young people (and old people) to enjoy.

Brian's Wild Wood is a place to read, create or simply relax and enjoy the surroundings inspired by Brian’s Wonderful World. Come along and find out for yourselves.


Paws, Claws, Tales & Roars: The Next Generation

A display of winning artworks from the Art Competition for Schools 2024, brought together by Barnsley Museums and Fusion, Barnsley’s Cultural Education Partnership and supported by the Cooper Trustees. The exhibition celebrates the talents of children and young people (4-18 years) from across Barnsley.

Students were invited to take inspiration from the work of Brian Wildsmith and depict animals in their natural habitat with judges looking for originality, imagination, narrative and technical skill, as well as use of colour & texture.

See all the entries here

Over at Experience Barnsley you can see Coming Home: The Life of Brian Wildsmith


Brian sat on the floor surrounded by books

Brian Lawrence Wildsmith was born on 22 January 1930 in Penistone to parents Paul and Annie, in a terraced stone house on Queen Street. Brian had two brothers, Donald, Alan as well as a sister, Joy. A creative child, he enjoyed art, sports, and music. He attended the primary school St Helens. Brian had fond memories of his time there, he spoke with great affection about his softly spoken teacher Miss Marron and of the warm and creative atmosphere the school provided.

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