Lockett Gallery in Guyton St struggled to find room for the many people who showed up on Sunday for the launch of Sandra Morris' book of text and illustrations, North & South: a Tale of Two Hemispheres.
The gallery had to make the switch from Open Studios to book launch venue for a couple of hours, then back again.
Lockett Gallery owner Lesley Stead welcomed everyone.
"It's a lovely turnout for our friend Sandra Morris, distinguished illustrator and author we're all so proud of, who has come to live here from living in Auckland … and has definitely added to the enrichment of our community.
"This book, I'm absolutely besotted and very much in love with it … the illustrations are beautiful, she's even got some of her own hand-written titles in here, the research is phenomenal. It is a beautiful book and I think many children all over the world will love having it on their bookshelf."
Lockett Gallery is for illustrators to show off their art outside the confines of a book, so the walls are covered with book illustrations freed from their binding.
"We are on a mission to elevate the status of illustrators," says Lesley.
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"We talk about the late 19th and early 20th centuries as being the golden age of children's book illustration," says Sandra. She mentioned popular illustrators of the day, such as Randolph Caldecott, Kate Greenaway, Walter Crane, MC Wyeth, Howard Pyle, Jessie Wilcox Smith and Maxfield Parrish.
"They revolutionised the picture book and Randolph Caldecott is recognised as being the father of the modern picture book. He didn't just show what was in the text, he extended the text visually by adding extra elements in to the story, and that had never been done before.
"Then we move on to the 20th century and we have the marvellous Maurice Sendak, and he probably is the most famous of our book illustrators in the children's genre.
"He considered himself an interpretive illustrator and he had a lovely insight into the mind of children and this reflected in his book, Where the Wild Things are."
Sandra says there are some incredible illustrators now, such as Oliver Jeffers and Emily Gravett, who take the book beyond just a story.
"I think there's a golden age of illustration now and I think there's a whole burgeoning of books in non-fiction, particularly natural history."
Which is where her book comes in.
"The important thing for me is to attract the child to the animal and to want to learn more about that animal. I'm neither graphic nor totally realistic: it's kind of my emotional response to how I connect with the animal, and I'm trying to bring the child into that same zone."
The book is timely, with climate change and human intervention threatening many species represented in the book, so Sandra aims to reach a young audience hoping for a better future.
North & South is available from Paige's Book Gallery.