National Archives
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Mervyn Peake artworks on display in The National Archives museum

To mark the centenary of the birth of Mervyn Peake (1911-1968), The National Archives is displaying his rarely-seen wartime artworks in our museum at Kew. Find out how to visit us.  

Never published

During the Second World War, Mervyn Peake came up with a novel idea for a series of artworks - a collection of pictures that Hitler might have produced as an artist. The Ministry of Information bought the work with the intention of publishing propaganda booklets. These, however, were never produced and 16 of the series were later transferred to The National Archives. This selection of original artworks, held within the record series INF 3, has never been published in its entirety.

Seven of the artworks are now on display in the free museum at The National Archives. Further artworks from the series will go on display in October, until the end of the year. The free museum, which showcases treasures of the Archives covering 1,000 years, is open from 09:00 to 17:00, Tuesday to Saturday.

The life and work of Mervyn Peake

Over a period of 30 years, Mervyn Peake produced four novels including the Gormenghast trilogy, over 250 poems, several short stories and ten plays. In 2008, The Times featured Peake on their list of 'The 50 greatest British writers since 1945'. As an artist, he also created many portraits in a variety of media and illustrated 24 books, including Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Treasure Island.

Recently, Sebastian Peake, Mervyn Peake's son, presented an illustrated lecture at The National Archives, discussing his father's life and work.

View the lecture