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Dr Robert Ingpen, AM, ARMTC, FRSA

Illustrator, Designer, Author and Consultant
Diploma of Art (Graphic Arts), 1957, Royal Melbourne Technical College
Doctor of Arts honoris causa, RMIT University

Robert Ingpen has written and/or illustrated more than 100 published books. In 1986, Robert became the only Australian to be awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for Illustration, recognizing "complete works which have made a lasting contribution to children's literature." Often called the "Little Nobel Prize," the Hans Christian Andersen Award is the highest international recognition given to an author and an illustrator of children's books. In 1989, Robert was awarded the Dromkeen Medal, for significant contribution to the appreciation and development of children's literature.

Robert studied art and illustration at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology from 1955-57. Early in his career Robert specialised in relating design to scientific research. In 1958, he was appointed as the artist at CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation). Ten years later, he began work as a freelance designer, illustrator and author. Robert's work for science continued when he worked as a member of a United Nations (FAO/UNDP) team in Mexico and Peru, where he designed pamphlets on fisheries (until 1975).

As an illustrator and author of children's books, Robert is known and loved by children Robert's work has focused on environmental and heritage issues and his exploration of fantasy and imagination. Robert Ingpen first rose to prominence with his illustrations for Colin Thiele's Storm Boy, winning the first Visual Arts Board award for children's book illustration.

Robert Ingpen has painted murals on public buildings, designed the flag and coat of arms for the Northern Territory, and designed postage stamps, including stamps for the Captain Cook Bicentenary and the 50th anniversary of CSIRO. He has been involved in a number of conservation and environmental projects, including the establishment of the Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement as consultant/designer. Robert was one of the founders of the Australian Conservation Foundation. He lives in the Victorian coastal town of Anglesea. In nearby Geelong, where he grew up, Robert has inspired tens of thousands of children to use their imaginations. The annual Poppykettle Festival, named in honour of his story, The Voyage of the Poppykettle, has been providing entertainment and arts activities to primary students for 21 years. This unique festival has become folklore in Geelong. Each year, more than 4500 school children (in costumes) take over Geelong's cultural precinct to present a parade, performances and artwork to the local community.

The growing interest in illustrations as a collectable art form is leading to the emergence of galleries specialising in pictures from books. Exhibitions of Robert Ingpen's illustrated works have been held in Europe and are now being planned for America.

Publications:Pioneers of Wool, Marking Time, Australian Gnomes, Storm Boy, Australia's Heritage Watch, The Voyage of the Poppykettle, The Unchosen Land, Aussie Battlers, Out of This World, Lifetimes, Conservation, Folk Tales and Fables of The World, The Making of Australians, The Idle Bear, Once Upon a Place, The Poppykettle Papers.
(From Who's Who in Australia, 2001)

Art work by Robert Ingpen:
1. The Hispaniola approaches Treasure Island. From Treasure Island special centenary edition 1993
2. The Poppykettle and Crew of Hairy Peruvians. From The Poppykettle Papers UK Pavillion Books 2000
3. Galileo. From Encyclopedia of World Events UK 1992
4. Gandhi at his spinning wheel. From Gandhi 1999 (Taiwan)
5. Portrait of Shakespeare. From Shakespeare: His World and his Work Walter Books UK 2001

View more of Robert Ingpen's works at Melaleuca Galleries:

Papers of Robert Ingpen at National Library of Australia:

May 2002


November 2003: Artist Robert Ingpen brings MCG history to life

February 2005 grads
Robert Ingpen was invited by the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in London to illustrate the centenary edition of the classic story Peter Pan and Wendy. Australian royalties from sales of the book are being donated to the Barwon Health Foundation Gala Appeal, for the redevelopment of the Emergency Department at the Geelong Hospital and, in particular, the development of a new paediatrics area.

A selection of the 70 beautiful and original illustrations featured in the book were exhibited at the Geelong Gallery in early 2005.

May 2005
Robert Ingpen awarded honorary doctorate
On Friday 6 May 2005, RMIT University presented four of Australia's most prominent community leaders with the university's highest accolade, an honorary doctorate. Robert Ingpen graduated from art and illustration studies at RMIT in 1957 and has since written and illustrated more than 100 published books. He received a Doctor of Arts for his outstanding contribution to the community. Read more.

January 2007
Australia Day Honour awarded to Robert Ingpen
Dr Robert Ingpen became a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to literature as an illustrator and author of children's books, to art design and education, and as a supporter of health care organisations.