Painting London Town Read

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Sit with Your Favorite Book

Thanks to artists and National Literacy Trust, London was awash in a series of book shaped benches

Peter Pan book bench in Bloomsbury

Last year 50 book-benches were scattered across the city in a celebration of reading and England’s literary traditions. The illustrations filled Londoner’s hearts, brought cheery smiles to city dwellers and visitors alike. And their backsides seemed to like the project, too.

This public art installation includes benches are painted by a variety of artists, including original illustrators of books.

The 50 benches are dedicated to books, characters and authors: from Sherlock Holmes, James Bond and Hercules Poirot to Peter Pan, The Gruffalo and Paddington Bear. Each bench has been designed an artist. Ralph Steadman, who illustrated Lewis Carroll’s children’s classic Through the Looking Glass in 1973 – has reproduced some of the original drawings on that bench.

Childhood friends such as Peter Pan, Paddington Bear and Dr Seuss are ready for a sit across town. Adult readers will enjoy finding their favorites as well, including James Bond, alongside classics Great Expectations, Pride and Prejudice, Through the Looking Glass, and of course a bench dedicated to the Bard himself.

Dr. Seuss book bench

Illustrated are also many of our favorite titles that have been adapted into film, for example Mary Poppins, and War Horse, and Bridget Jones Diary.

But it isn’t just about novels, there is also the Frozen in Time bench based on Captain Scott’s Autobiography.

Some cities have bulls, hearts, horses, geese…ah, but London loves books.

Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe book bench

For the complete bibliography of benches, including pictures, visit Books About Town and then come back and tell us which was your favorite. If you happen to be in London, snap a selfie and send it over and we’ll be happy to share it here.


Thanks to Marta Bausells and the Guardian for the original article and followup with readers’ photos.

Peter Pan in Bloomsbury. Here’s one of two book benches representing JM Barrie’s Peter Pan character. This is the one on the Bloomsbury Trail, in Red Lion Square. Photograph: adriantribe/GuardianWitness

Dr Seuss Photograph: LeedsTim/GuardianWitness

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Front view of this splendid Narnia-themed book bench, painted by Mandii Pope. Photograph: adriantribe/GuardianWitness

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