This classic poem by the American professor of literature and theology Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863) and the Australian master of illustration Robert Ingpen (born 1936) was first titled “A Visit from St. Nicholas”. The poem later became known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. It was first published anonymously but was later attributed to Clement C. Moore. Its text is regarded to have had a significant contribution to today’s Santa Claus story.
The illustrations of “The Night Before Christmas” teleport me right back to my childhood. The image of Santa I had as a child is this Santa depicted by Robert Ingpen. The realistic and seemingly conventional yet unique style of Robert Ingpen strikes a chord with me every time I pick a book with his illustrations.
Robert Ingpen is an award-winning illustrator, story-teller, designer, passionate conservation supporter, who was still illustrating at the age of 80. His creative life is an inspiration. Well over a hundred books he has chosen to work on throughout his career add up to a holistic library in its own right and range from unabridged classics to fairy tales, rhymes, fiction, historic and scientific texts and last but not least his own fantasy stories. His work won numerous awards, including Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 1986 for his lasting contribution as a children’s illustrator and the Life-Time Achievement award from CBCA NSW in 2016.
Enjoy this visual interpretation of the iconic Christmas poem by an iconic Australian artist.