An exhibition featuring never-before-seen items and art from one of the country’s most beloved authors and illustrators will open this month.

The works of Raymond Briggs will be on display next year at Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft.

Raymond lived in Westmeston, near Ditchling, and based his hit children’s book The Snowman, which was made into a film, in the Sussex countryside.

He died in August last year at the age of 88

Bloomin’ Brilliant: The Life And Work Of Raymond Briggs will bring together 30 items from the late author’s estate with more than 100 original artworks from his 60-year career.

The Argus: The exhibition includes work from Raymond’s most famous books including Father Christmas and Fungus The Bogeyman.

Also on show will be his drawings, typography and page designs from his earliest commissions to his 2004 book The Puddleman.

It is the first specially curated exhibition since Raymond’s death.

Items from his Westmeston home include Raymond’s own writing and drawing desk which he used for more than 40 years.

His belongings give a sense of who he was and his playful response to his fame.

They include a faux blue plaque outlining his commitment to practical jokes.

The Argus: Buckingham Palace page spread, Father ChristmasBuckingham Palace page spread, Father Christmas (Image: Raymond Briggs)

A selection of the private correspondence that Raymond kept over the decades will also be included, from the children who enthusiastically wrote to him, to an adult from Pennsylvania who in 1975 admonished him for portraying Santa Claus as “performing an act of personal hygiene”, as well as the author’s own thoughts on the industry he worked in. 

Artworks that have never been seen before include drawings for Father Christmas on Holiday, as well as portraits and other illustrations that did not leave his home for decades.

Steph Fuller, director of Ditchling Museum, said: “It has been a privilege to be invited by Raymond Briggs’ estate to visit his home and select objects for this exhibition. 

“Being in his studio amongst his drawing materials, family photographs and notes to self, it feels as though he might have just stepped out and could return at any moment.  I hope we’re able to convey something of that feeling to visitors.”

This exhibition opens on April 27 and will run until October 27 this year.