The Art of Victor Ambrus

*This exhibition is now closed*

The achievement of the Hungarian-born artist and illustrator Victor Ambrus is being celebrated at the Museum of Somerset from 23 April to 2 July.

Richard III-web

King Richard III in his final moments of battle

An exhibition of original works

‘The Art of Victor Ambrus’ features some 90 original works created over a period of nearly 60 years by this much-loved artist.

Victor is one of Britain’s foremost illustrators of history, folk tales and children’s books and is well known for his archaeological reconstructions created for Channel 4’s Time Team series.

A diverse career

Works in the exhibition feature many aspects of his diverse career. They include lithographs from his student days, works commissioned for the Museum of Somerset, archaeological reconstructions for Time Time, and just some of the enormous number of his illustrations for children’s books.

King Richard III in battle

The centrepiece is the bloody scene of King Richard III in his final moments at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. He was the last English monarch killed in battle. The illustration was inspired when the skeleton of the king was discovered in a Leicester car park in 2012.

Drama, mud and blood

“As a boy I was always drawing great battles and historical scenes. They were my favourite subjects and I’ve been drawing them ever since,” said Victor.

“Every picture has to have some drama in it, as well as being factual. You will never see shining knights in my illustrations. They will be covered in mud and blood.”

Victor Ambrus portrait-web

Victor Ambrus by Pauline Rook

Born in Budapest

Born in Budapest in 1935 Victor began his formal training at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts. His studies were cut short in October 1956 by the Hungarian Uprising as a result of which Victor was forced to flee the country. He came to Britain and continued his studies at the Royal College of Art.

A long association with the museum

Head of Museums Steve Minnitt said:  “We have had a long association with Victor since the original pilots for Team Time in 1993, one of which was set on the Isle of Athelney.”

“When we redeveloped the museum in 2011 we approached Victor to illustrate some of our key collections and have more recently worked with him on reconstructions as part of archaeological excavations at Hinkley Point.”

Breathing life into the past

Sir Tony Robinson, presenter of Time Team, said: “I worked with Victor for twenty years watching him breathe life into the past. He effortlessly provided the colour, human scale and imagination which enabled our viewers to visualise how people lived, worked and died.”

The exhibition is free to enter and includes a short film of Victor talking about his life and work.

Accompanying event

To accompany the exhibition Bob Croft, South West Heritage Trust Head of Historic Environment, is giving a talk titled ‘Time Team in Somerset’.

It is at the Museum of Somerset on Friday 13 May, 2.30 pm – 3.30 pm, cost £5, with booking advised on 01823 255088.

Also on now at the museum

‘The Art of Victor Ambrus’ is one of two free exhibitions on at the museum this spring. You can also see an exhibition of watercolours by Harry Frier, one of Somerset’s best known artists. His paintings document life in and around Taunton during the late 1800s and early 1900s and includes scenes of Taunton, the surrounding villages and countryside. Read more

*This exhibition is now closed*


Portrait of Victor Ambrus © Pauline Rook