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Archive of Shirley Hughes


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The archive of Shirley Hughes comprises her original artwork and illustrations for books and promotional material; rough dummies and layouts for her books; draft manuscripts and typescripts; sketches; development of ideas and student work. Most of the artwork in the collection is undated; creation dates for undated items have been estimated based on earliest publication of the book.

The archive also includes a small amount of correspondence with publishers; some papers and notes for articles, talks and radio work; and captions from an exhibition of Hughes' illustrations held at The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford between 2002-2003.


  • Creation: 1945-2021


20.6 Linear metres (86 physical shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark, e.g. MS. 7164/1].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. 7164/1-85 and JL 1092

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 7164, 22217


Original artwork and literary papers of Shirley Hughes (1927-1922), illustrator and author.

Biographical / Historical

Shirley Hughes was born on 16 July 1927 in West Kirby, near Liverpool. She studied fashion and dress design at Liverpool Art School before moving to Oxford to study at The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. After leaving art school Hughes began a career as a freelance book illustrator in London. The first book she illustrated was The Hill War by Olivia Fitz Roy, published in 1950. Hughes has since illustrated more than 200 books of other authors, notably the 'My Naughty Little Sister' series by Dorothy Edwards and books by Ian Serraillier, Nina Bawden and Margaret Mahy.

Lucy and Tom’s Day, published by Gollancz in 1960 was Hughes' first book as both author and illustrator. She has subsequently written over 70 books, primarily for children. As well as the 'Lucy and Tom' series, her picture books include the 'Alfie' series, The Nursery Collection and Dogger, for which she was awarded the Kate Greenaway Medal in 1977. In 1984 Hughes won the Eleanor Farjeon Award for distinguished service to children's literature and in 2003 she was awarded a second Kate Greenaway Medal for Ella’s Big Chance. Shirley Hughes has also written and illustrated books for older children, including The Lion and the Unicorn (1998), Whistling in the Dark (2015) and Ruby in the Ruins (2018). Bye Bye Birdie (2009) is a wordless graphic novel that she devised and illustrated by for adults. In 2015 she was the first winner of the BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award.

Shirley Hughes was awarded an OBE in 1999 for services to children's literature and a CBE in 2017 for services to literature. She was granted an Honorary Fellowship by Liverpool John Moores University in 2003 and Honorary Degrees by the University of Liverpool in 2004 and the University of Chester in 2012. She died in 2022.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The bulk of the archive was placed at the Bodleian Library by Shirley Hughes in 2012. Additional material was received from her family after her death in 2022.

Catalogue of the Archive of Shirley Hughes
Carolyn Lewis
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom