Robert Crowther Collection

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 1840 RC
  • Dates of Creation
      c 1973-2001
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      English , Chinese
  • Physical Description
      2 archive boxes + 2 artwork boxes

Scope and Content

Collection of original artwork, preparatory work and other related material for three of Crowther's published works - 'The Most Amazing Hide and Seek Alphabet Book', 'The Most Amazing Hide and Seek Counting Book' and 'Football'. The material in the collection illustrates the various stages involved in creating a pop-up book - after a concept has been agreed upon with a publisher, Crowther produces a working dummy (usually uncoloured) to show the layout and pop-up mechanics. This process can take three to four months, and very precise measurements are required for all the pop-up pieces; Crowther does all of the paper engineering himself. Once a rough has been produced and agreed upon, Crowther creates the final artwork on flat sheets with all the different pieces laid out, one image for each plane of pop-ups. These flat sheets of original artwork are then reproduced and printed with instructions as to how to construct the three-dimensional elements of the book. All the spreads and pieces have to fit into a single 'nesting sheet' for printing, from which they are cut. This dictates the number of pieces that can be used. The pieces are cut by machine, but each book is constructed by hand. The text, usually written by Crowther then rewritten by a junior editor, is usually added onto an overlay, and is only fitted in after the visuals have been completed. The published books were printed in Asia, and this is reflected in the presence of occasional annotations in Cantonese.

Administrative / Biographical History

Created by Robert Crowther during the course of his career as an illustrator and paper engineer.


The material is arranged into three series according to title, and the series are arranged in order of publication date.

Conditions Governing Access

Accessible to all researchers, by appointment only.

Custodial History

Donated to Seven Stories by the creator in 2006.

Personal Names