"My new book Mr Chicken Lands on London is my twentieth in twenty years. I think of it as a kind of love story. Originally I never thought he – Mr Chicken that is, would go anywhere but Paris. However this big beast is hardly a homebody, and as London is his favourite city in all the world, and mine too, it was inevitable that he should take off again and head for England.

Now I have been to London over twenty times. It may not be as beautiful as Paris, as dramatic as New York or as historically rich as Rome, but as a city, a place, I love it, warts and all. I had two ambitions as a child. One was to be an artist. The other was to ‘go to England’, because that’s where the things I drew were; castles, knights, pirates, Richard the Lionheart and Robin Hood.

As far as Mr Chicken Lands on London is concerned, I can’t remember when I actually started to work on it.  For ages I’d wanted to do something about London, either draw it or write about it - wondering what it was that kept me wanting to go back, again and again. Who’d have thought that Mr Chicken would, on my behalf, set out on this quest.

(Photos: Left: Savoy Hotel. This shows the side which faces the Thames. Mr Chicken stays in The River View Deluxe suite up the top.  Alas, Leigh Hobbs cannot afford to stay here. He stays in The Strand Palace Hotel which faces the other side of the Savoy. Right: Mr Chicken's Landing Place). 

He/the book is due for release in the UK in September. And I’m returning in October to be in the Cheltenham Literary Festival and then again in March for the Oxford Literary Festival. At Cheltenham one session is going to be focussed on Mr Chicken.

I am excited to announce that Mr Chicken Lands on London is now available in the Tate Modern; Tate Britain Museum of London; London Transport Museum; Natural History Museum; British Library. And, Mr Chicken Goes to Paris is still selling steadily in the Louvre... "

Leigh Hobbs the day he visited his grandparents and saw a television, which they had just bought, for the very first time. 
Robin Hood on TV soon helped trigger his fascination for England.
Leigh's work in progress with Snowy checking through the studio door. 
Leigh Hobbs discussing Mr Chicken as part of the State Library of Victoria's touring LOOK! exhibition. 
Books Illustrated offers a range of original illustrations, limited edition prints and signed books by Leigh Hobbs. 
View illustrations available for sale by Leigh Hobbs
View limited edition prints available for sale by Leigh Hobbs
View signed books available for sale by Leigh Hobbs
"As far as the children’s book side of my work goes, the person whose work I admire most is Ludwig Bemelmans, the ‘Madeleine‘ creator.  I love the looseness of his drawing and the seemingly spontaneous application of colour. His illustrations never look laboured or overworked.

I’m also fascinated by the breadth of his written and artistic output, and how later in life he wrestled with the challenge of oil painting."

Inside illustration from Madeline in London. 
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