Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery welcomed some very special visitors to its Mystery, Magic and Midnight Feasts: The Many Adventures of Enid Blyton exhibition recently, when the late author’s granddaughter and great-grandchildren popped in to look around the show.
Sara Lane, who lives in Cornwall, her elder children Dominic and Georgina and her youngest son Jeremy, who attends school in Plymouth, were treated to a private viewing of the nationally touring exhibition before enjoying some tea and cake in the Museum café.
They spent time looking at the variety of exhibits on display in the gallery, all of which celebrate their famous relative’s life and her career, which spanned five decades.
Blyton was the best-selling English language author of the 20th century and remains one of Britain’s best known children’s authors.
Mystery, Magic and Midnight Feasts, which has been created by Seven Stories, the national centre for children’s books, brings to life some of her most well-known characters including Noddy and the Famous Five.
A number of the exhibits – some of which Sara remembers from her childhood – are on public display for the first time
“It’s an unusual experience to come into a public space and see items from your childhood home on display, but the exhibition is bright and colourful and laid out very well so it was great to show my children around it and a take a trip down memory lane,” said Sara. “My grandmother passed away when I was a child but this exhibition shows that her legacy lives on.”
Deputy Council Leader Peter Smith said: “Enid Blyton was one of the most popular writers of all time and it’s fantastic that some of her family members were able to come along to the museum to view this exhibition celebrating her life and work.”
“It was great to meet Sara and her family – they must be very proud,” said Mark Tosdevin, programmes manager for the Council’s arts and heritage service. “Having the chance to host an exhibition about someone who left such a mark on Britain’s literary heritage is a wonderful opportunity. Being able to show members of their family around it is even better, especially as Dominic and Georgina never got the chance to see it when it was on display at Seven Stories in Newcastle last year.”
Mystery, Magic and Midnight Feasts is providing the inspiration for a series of family activities over the summer, many of which are being delivered in partnership with the Council’s library service.
The exhibition and its event programme have received an additional boost from Sara following her visit.
She has loaned a large life-scape painting of Enid Blyton to the exhibition for the remainder of its run. The painting by Cornwall-based artist Tom Adams features some of Blyton’s most famous characters as well as images connected to the author herself.
Sara will also be returning to the Museum on Tuesday 18 and Tuesday 25 August to run some special workshops for children inspired by the Magic Faraway Tree.
Mystery, Magic and Midnight Feasts: The Many Adventures of Enid Blyton will be on display until the end of Saturday 29 August. Opening hours are 10am to 5.30pm Tuesday to Friday and 10am to 5pm on Saturdays. Admission is free.