The Reg and Ann Cartwright Archive

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The archive contains material relating to Reg Cartwright's illustrations and Ann Cartwright's stories for children's books, and also to Reg Cartwright's other commercial work. It includes a selection of original illustrations, some framed, some mounted but unframed, together with working drawings, proofs, colour transparencies and the Mother Goose Award of 1980 for the most promising new illustrator of children's books in Britain. It also contains signed copies of each book illustrated by Reg Cartwright, including copies of translated works; the text for many of these books was written by Ann Cartwright. Examples of Reg Cartwright's other commercial work - children's puzzles, illustrations for magazines, greetings cards and posters - are also included. The archive also incorporates correspondence, agreements with publishers and reviews relating to the Cartwrights' various children's books, along with exhibition catalogues and other papers relating to exhibitions of Reg Cartwright's work.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born in Leicester in 1938, Reg Cartwright is an award-winning painter and illustrator, whose work has been exhibited around the world. He is perhaps best known as the illustrator of 40 books for young readers. After leaving Gateway Boys School in 1954, he became an apprentice pattern maker in the shoe trade. From 1957 to 1960, he carried out his National Service as a musician in the Leicestershire Regiment, serving in Cyprus and Germany. On his return, from 1960 until 1976, he worked as a commercial artist and art director in Frank Gayton and Gee Advertising Studios, Leicester, exhibiting work at various galleries in London and Leicester from 1972 onwards. In 1976 he took the decision to go freelance as a full time painter and illustrator. He was asked if he could make a picture book based on one of his exhibited illustrations, entitled "The Pigeon Fancier", and with Patrick Kinmonth he went on to create "Mr Potter's Pigeon", for which he won the prestigious Mother Goose Award for the most exciting new illustrator of children's books in 1980. This was followed by a whole string of successful picture books, many in collaboration with his wife Ann, whom he married in 1962 and with whom he has two sons. Ideas for the books often come from walks in the Leicestershire countryside, where he and Ann live and work. His work has been exhibited widely in the United Kingdom, in Japan and at the Museum of 20th Century Illustrators in New York. His paintings have been used for a range of greetings cards and a variety of posters. He also worked on the opening titles of the television series "Mapp and Lucia".


The original order of the material has been retained. It is arranged in the following series: framed original illustrations, mounted original illustrations, working drawings, awards, proofs, book covers, posters, colour transparencies, examples of commercial work, exhibition papers, manuscripts and correspondence.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to bona fide researchers. The Special Collections is open Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm. Access by appointment only. Contact to make an appointment.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated to the University of Leicester by Reg and Ann Cartwright in October 2010.

Other Finding Aids

University of Leicester Library catalogue at

Archivist's Note

Description prepared by Margaret Maclean on 9 March 2011.

Conditions Governing Use

Much of the material in the archive remains in copyright. Copyright of Reg and Ann Cartwright's own artwork and papers is held by Reg and Ann Cartwright. Copyright of the residual material, such as letters written to Reg Cartwright and works by other authors, remains with individual authors. Photocopies of material can be supplied for private research purposes only. However, it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study. A copy of such written approval from the copyright holder must be received by the Librarian before reproductions can be made. It is also the researcher's responsibility to obtain the relevant copyright holder's permission to publish or cite papers from the archive. A copy of such written approval from the copyright holder must be received by the Librarian prior to publication. The Library will not be responsible for any failure on the part of authors and publishers to seek such permission to publish. Readers are required to sign a form accepting these conditions.

Custodial History

Before being transferred to the Special Collections Department of the University of Leicester Library in 2010, the collection was stored at the Leicestershire home of Reg and Ann Cartwright.