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The Jean Thomson Collection of Original Art

illustration from The Paper Bag Princess

The Jean Thomson Collection of Original Art, established in 1977, is part of the Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books. Named for a distinguished children's librarian and head of Public Service at Toronto Public Library, this collection of over 5,000 original illustrations for children's books ranges from woodcuts to watercolours, from aquatints to multimedia creations.

The collection includes representative works by many notable artists, from early works by Walter Crane, Randolph Caldecott, Kate Greenaway and Arthur Rackham to modern creations by Laszlo Gal, James Houston, Elizabeth Cleaver, Maurice Sendak and Barbara Reid, to name but a few. Examples of Osborne's outstanding Canadiana picture book art can be seen in the virtual exhibit Picture Perfect!

Every exhibition at Osborne features art from the Jean Thomson Collection, and visitors are welcome to make requests to see original art holdings. Registration is required, so please remember your library card or other identification.

Original book art is a frequent request for talks and tours. Please contact the Osborne Collection to enquire about booking a group.


illustration from The Nightwood

"A spirit creature, wondrous and terrible to behold." Illustration for The Nightwood (Toronto: Doubleday, 1991), written and illustrated by Robin Muller.