The Art of Victor Ambrus celebrated at the Museum of Somerset from 23 April to 2 July

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

‘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.

Richard III

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.

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.

“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. All users must credit Pauline Rook
Photo: Pauline Rook

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.

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.”

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.”

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.

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