I mentioned in my January wrap-up post that I had been to the Tove Jansson exhibition and picked up some pretty great things, but I felt like the experience deserved a post of it’s own so here it is.
I am a very big Moomin fan. I’m writing this while lounging in my Moomin pyjamas. It’s not a big obsession, but I’ve been inadvertently collecting Moomin merchandise over the last few years. I have a Moominpappa plush toy, a Moomin decanter, and a make-up bag with Snork Maiden printed on it. I have a Moomin calendar, some Moomin glass cups and I’m planning on eventually treating myself to a Moomin candle holder.
The shocking thing is, I’ve never actually read one of the Moomin stories. What I know about the Moomins, I know from watching animated cartoons as a child. My memories are vague at best. When I moved up to London, I found out that the Dulwich Picture Gallery had an exhibition of Tove Jansson’s work, including her earlier paintings, and I realised that while I knew little about the Moomins I knew even less about their creator.
It took me until the last weekend to finally drag myself across London and go. I fell a little bit in love with the woman whose self-portraits stared back at me, standing tall and defiant, shoulder back and chin pointed up. I was surprised by her political cartoons that poked fun at the Nazi party. I could have stood for hours, following the intricate mark-making on preliminary sketches and final drawings. The hobbits, and trolls, Alice in Wonderland and the Cheshire cat.
The Moomin illustrations and comics were more than I was anticipating, and when unleashed on the gift shop I knew I wasn’t going to leave empty handed. So I decided to buy my first Moomin book and also one of her adult book as well. Some Moomin postcards attacked me as well. I’d love to read a biography of their fascinating creator some day too, but I had to draw the line somewhere. I don’t think the other visitors would have been happy if I’d taken all the books home with me.