Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Norman Thelwell's pony cartoons on show at Mottisfont

Pony cartoon 'That Spring Feeling' by Norman Thelwell Image copyright Norman Thelwell
Image caption More than 70 original artworks feature in the exhibition from the private family archives

Images of plump ponies by cartoonist Norman Thelwell are featuring in an exhibition of his artwork in Hampshire.

The artist, who died in 2004, drew Penelope and her mischievous pony Kipper in hundreds of humorous scenarios, including the destruction of country fairs.

The exhibition at Mottisfont features more than 70 original artworks.

Some of them have never been seen in public before.

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Media captionThelwell's granddaughters, Kate and Sara, talk about the late artist's work
Image copyright Norman Thelwell
Image caption Norman Thelwell drew Penelope and her mischievous pony Kipper in hundreds of humorous scenarios, including the destruction of country fairs

Thelwell, who grew up in Birkenhead, Merseyside, but later settled in Braishfield, near Romsey, also produced satirical cartoons based on country life, including gardening and fishing.

The exhibition includes some of his lesser-known watercolour landscapes, many of which feature places in the Test Valley, including Mottisfont.

Image copyright Norman Thelwell
Image caption The images are on display at Mottisfont until 10 April

He began sketching in 1941 during World War Two military training.

By 1956, he was a full-time artist and his cartoons featured in magazines and books.

Image copyright Norman Thelwell
Image caption Thelwell also produced several other satirical cartoons based on country life

While teaching art in Wolverhampton in the early 1950s, Thelwell and his family lived in Codsall, from where some of the inspiration for Penelope and Kipper came.

Image copyright Norman Thelwell
Image caption Some of the artworks on display have never been seen in public before

The artist's studio looked out onto a field where two ponies, Thunder and Lightning, were kept and owned by "two little girls about three feet high who could have done with losing a few pounds themselves", he recalled in his autobiography, Wrestling with a Pencil.

"As the children got near, the ponies would swing round and present their ample hindquarters and give a few lightning kicks which the children would sidestep calmly, and they had the head-collars on those animals before they knew what was happening. "

Image copyright Norman Thelwell
Image caption The exhibition also features some of Thelwell's lesser-known watercolour landscapes

Thelwell: Ponies and Places runs at the National Trust's Mottisfont until 10 April.

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