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Picture book spread describing the habits of fiddler crabs, accompanied by brightly-coloured pictures illustrating the text

Marie Neurath: Picturing Science

19 July – 3 November 2019
Exhibited at the House of Illustration

Ground-breaking graphic design that transformed children’s learning, from the 1940s to today.

Designer, educator and 'transformer' Marie Neurath was the brains behind dozens of illustrated books for children on scientific topics ranging from nuclear physics to reproduction.

Leading a collaborative team of researchers, artists and writers from the 1940s to the 1970s, she transformed complex science into striking infographics and diagrams to be easily understood by those of all ages.

Marie Neurath: Picturing Science demonstrated this process of transformation from early ideas for picture books, research documents and initial sketches to final page spreads and bold book covers.

The exhibition was delivered in partnership with the University of Reading and Design Science, supported by the Arts & Humanities Research Council.

The exhibition was part of 'Transforming science for young people: Marie Neurath and Isotype books for children', a project aiming to find new audiences for the approach to science communication taken by Marie Neurath.

This exhibition was also part of both London Design Festival 2019 and Insiders/Outsiders, a nationwide arts festival that took place from March 2019 to March 2020 to celebrate refugees from Nazi Europe and their contribution to British culture.

Selected reviews and articles:

"A beguiling little show... unexpectedly beautiful as well as instructive. Without the Neuraths, graphic design as we know it might not have existed."

The Guardian

"An insight into the beginnings of information design [that] no doubt influence designers today."

Design Week

Sequential illustration spread illustrating how a chick develops inside an egg

Spread from If You Could See Inside, 1948.

"The Wonder World of the Seashore" and "The Wonder World of Long Ago" book covers

Selected book covers.

"The Wonder World of Land and Water" and "The Wonder World of Nature: Too small to see" book covers

Selected book covers.

Sequential illustration of how tulips bloom from bulbs

Spread from I'll Show You How It Happens, 1948.

Display of book covers from the exhibition

Installation view of Marie Neurath: Picturing Science at House of Illustration.

Photograph of the Marie Neurath exhibition at the House of Illustration

Installation view of Marie Neurath: Picturing Science at House of Illustration.

All artworks © Otto and Marie Neurath Isotype Collection at University of Reading
All photographs © Paul Grover

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