They are as instantly identifiable as Paddington Bear and Winnie the Pooh and they have been the subject of countless tv programmes, films, and books. Yes, the Moomins are certainly well loved.
The real life story of their creator, Finnish-Swedish writer Tove Jansson, is less well known, however, thus this brilliant exhibition about the writer at the William Morris Gallery is most welcome.
“What kind of person could live here? Someone so fuelled by their imagination, so stimulated by the sea, so richly creative that they could find solace and inspiration in what to others might seem a barren rock.” Esther Freud
The Woman Who Fell In Love With An Island explores Jansson’s life and the key influences on her work. It looks in particular detail at the writer’s love affair with the small Swedish Island of Klovharun, where Jansson spent large parts of her life.
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The island features in many of Jansson’s best works and it is played a significant role in the writer’s creative life.
The show features a series of stunning photographs of Tove on Klovharun, accompanied by an array of her quotes and some of her own writing, especially on the nature of nature and birds.
A central focus for the exhibition is the creation of the Moomins, Jansson’s best loved work. The shows exhibition explores what we can learn about the writer from her best work and also what we can learn about nature and conservation from the Moomins.
The first Moomins book was released in 1946. Comet in Moominland was to be followed by a further eight books, with the last Moomin novel released in 1993.
In that time, the little characters have become world famous, with a glut of tv programmes and films, The Moomins have appeared regularly on tv and in film and even provided the inspiration for their very own theme park, Finland’s Moomin World.
The Woman Who Fell In Love With An Island is a collaboration between Walthamstow Wetlands and The William Morris Gallery with both venues staging their own unique exhibitions dedicated to the work of Jansson.
Walthamstow Wetlands will offer visitors a chance to view a series of facsimiles of photographs taken of Tove on Klovharun, alongside quotes from the artist and an outdoor trail celebrating Jansson’s work. Meanwhile, the William Morris Gallery will stage an exhibition featuring art and personal objectives from Jansson’s collective.
So, if you were weaned on the adventures of the Moomins, now’s your chance to get to know their brilliant yet enigmatic author.
More information about The Woman Who Fell In Love With An Island is available here.
For information on other great exhibitions in London, please click here.