Image: poster for Toys and Tales exhibition 25 Mar-13 May 2023

Saturday 25 March – Saturday 13 May

A toy is to play with – or is it?

This colourful exhibition celebrates the huge pleasure children of all ages find in playing with toys – and it also explores the different messages we can make them carry. Sometimes a toy is more than a toy.

We start with the toys in Ken Stradling’s playful collection, from the little wooden tiger he had at the age of 5 to Sam Smith’s sophisticated and sometimes dark toys for adults, and Peter Markey’s endlessly kicking footballers in their striped jerseys, turned by a wooden handle.

Local collectors and friends have added their own flavour to the mix by adding toys which have never been shown before.

How do we use toys to convey stories and ideas? How can we make them move like real animals and people? Why do we need to play? These are questions which enrich the experience of our gallery of entrancing objects, which include puppets, automata and, above all, wonderful stories.



Toys and Tales – a few comments from our visitors’ book

“Beautiful collection of wonderful toys! I loved it!! Thank you!”

“Great! Inspirational!”

“Really glad I came! Lots of interesting and beautiful artworks!”

“Excellent exhibition superbly displayed – loved the humour.”

“Delightful gems. Thank you!”

“Lovely display. Thought-provoking and plenty to start conversations and spark new ideas.”

“Excellent curator. Brought it all to life. Thanks.”

“Delightful moment of colour and whimsy :)”