Norfolk artist’s illustrations help to transport children into the world of Shakespeare

Cringleford based illustrator John Shelley with the Shakespeare book that he provided the illustrati

Cringleford based illustrator John Shelley with the Shakespeare book that he provided the illustrations for. Photo: Steve Adams. - Credit: Steve Adams

Children are set to be transported into the world of William Shakespeare through the beautiful illustrations of a Norfolk artist.

John Shelley, from Cringleford, has illustrated a new book written by Jane Sutcliffe called Will’s W

John Shelley, from Cringleford, has illustrated a new book written by Jane Sutcliffe called Will’s Words: How Shakespeare Changed the Way You Talk.Text Copyright © 2016 by Jane Sutcliffe. Illustrations © 2016 by John Shelley. Excerpted from Will’s Words: How Shakespeare Changed the Way You Talk. Used with permission by Charlesbridge Publishing. All rights reserved. - Credit: John Shelley/Charlesbridge Publishing

Taking young readers through 17th century London's streets, along the South Bank and into the Globe Theatre, John Shelley's intricate paintings bring to life what it would have been like in the capital during the Bard's lifetime and show the inner workings of the theatre.

The stunning watercolours feature in a new book written by American author Jane Sutcliffe called Will's Words: How William Shakespeare Changed the Way You Talk.

Mr Shelley, 56, who lives in Cringleford with his 12-year-old daughter Seren, spent seven months - from January to July last year - perfecting all the illustrations for the 40 page book.

About the book, he said: 'It is a two-angled story. The first story is about how plays are written and put on in the Globe Theatre. It starts describing London at the turn of the 17th century and I use these panoramas of London and gradually move into the theatre.

John Shelley, from Cringleford, has illustrated a new book written by Jane Sutcliffe called Will’s W

John Shelley, from Cringleford, has illustrated a new book written by Jane Sutcliffe called Will’s Words: How Shakespeare Changed the Way You Talk.Text Copyright © 2016 by Jane Sutcliffe. Illustrations © 2016 by John Shelley. Excerpted from Will’s Words: How Shakespeare Changed the Way You Talk. Used with permission by Charlesbridge Publishing. All rights reserved. - Credit: John Shelley/Charlesbridge Publishing

'It tells of what London was like, it tells of how theatre was put on at the Globe, and of course about Shakespeare and his plays.'

He said running alongside all of this was a look at how Shakespeare influenced words and phrases we still use today, such as 'love letter' and 'wild goose chase.'

Most Read

Mr Shelley did a lot of historical research, referring to both old texts and images, to make sure his illustrations of 17th century London were as accurate as possible, and he based his illustrations of the theatre on the recreation of the Globe which stands in London today.

The book, which is aimed at seven to 10-year-olds, is being published by American publisher Charlesbridge, which is connected to Penguin Random House. The book is due to be published in America on March 22 and planned to be available in the UK soon after that, including in Waterstones and Norwich book store The Book Hive.

It is the third book Mr Shelley has illustrated for Charlesbridge. He previously illustrated Stone Giant: Michelangelo's David and How He Came to Be and a children's novel called Family Reminders.

In total he has illustrated more than 40 children's books, including many books for the Japanese market.

For more about Mr Shelley's work visit www.jshelley.com

Do you have a Norwich arts story? Email arts correspondent Emma Knights at emma.knights@archant.co.uk