Sketches by Ted Hughes


These pen and pencil drawings are from sketchbooks belonging to the poet Ted Hughes. They reveal Hughes as a skilled draughtsman whose ability to closely observe and capture the natural world, so evident in his poetry, is here reflected in another art form. The whole collection is estimated to date from the 1950s up to the 1990s.

Mainly depicting people and animals, the sketchbooks contain several sketches which appear to be preparatory drafts for illustrated editions of Hughes’s poetry. The sketches of a bull closely resemble the front cover design for Moortown Diary, Hughes’s 1979 verse sequence that draws on his years of farming in Devon. Some of the designs, such as the eagle, appear to be works in progress for the Morrigu Press. The Morrigu Press was a printing press established in 1979 by Hughes’s 18-year-old son, Nicholas Hughes.

Throughout his career Hughes’s interest in the echo between text and image found its outlet through his collaborations with artists. Notable partnerships include Leonard Baskin on Crow, Fay Godwin on Remains of Elmet, and George Adamson on a series of children’s books, beginning with Meet My Folks!. This collaborative work, together with Hughes’s interest in book design and printing, made up a lifetime commitment to integrating poetry and the visual arts.

Full title:
Edward James Hughes Papers: Sketches and artwork
c. 1960s–90s
Manuscript / Sketchbook / Artwork / Drawing / Image
Ted Hughes
Usage terms

© The Ted Hughes Estate. No copying, republication or modification is allowed for material © The Ted Hughes Estate. For further use of this material please seek formal permission from the copyright holder.

Held by
British Library
Add MS 88918/145

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