Norman Lindsay's "The Magic Pudding" celebrates 100 years since publication

FUN FOR ALL: Exhibition curator Margaret Fullwood with the Magic Pudding costume provided by the Victorian Opera. Photo: Dylan Burns
FUN FOR ALL: Exhibition curator Margaret Fullwood with the Magic Pudding costume provided by the Victorian Opera. Photo: Dylan Burns

This year marks 100 years since Norman Lindsay’s famous children’s book, The Magic Pudding was first published. 

Lindsay, who was born in Creswick in 1879, was one of Dr Robert and Jane Lindsay’s ten creatively inclined children.

Lindsay wrote and illustrated the book to settle an argument with his friend Bertram Stevens, that children would rather read about food rather than fairies. 

The book was published in 1918 and since then, it has never been out of print. The book has been published in the United Kingdom and the United States and has been translated into various languages, including Japanese, French, German and Spanish. It has also been turned into an opera, play and a children’s film. 

Creswick Museum is putting on a special exhibition this July, with some of Lindsay’s works sourced from all over Victoria, to celebrate the novel’s centenary.

Visitors will be able to see Lindsay’s model ship of Captain Cook’s HMS Bark Endeavour, on loan from the Melbourne Museum, while the Victorian Opera has loaned the exhibition costumes of the story’s characters, including the magic pudding, koala, cockatoo, penguin and sailor from its recent performance of the play.

In addition, The State Library of Victoria has loaned out the bronze Marquette of Louis Mauman’s sculpture, the original of which is posed in the Children’s Garden at the Royal Botanical Gardens while The Art Gallery of Ballarat has loaned the exhibition a Victorian doll named Rose, which Lindsay crafted himself. Other highlights will include reproductions of Lindsay’s artworks and a collection of toys and books from the era of his childhood.

The exhibition will be held in three of the museum’s rooms, with one room a dedicated children’s room, one room dedicated to Lindsay himself, and another room showing off a collection of works by children’s author and illustrator Michael Salmon.

“In Celebration of The Pudding” opens at Creswick Museum this Saturday, July 14 while a children’s festival will take place in September.