David Shrigley: exclusive illustrations for the New Statesman

A gallery of drawings by the irreverent and witty artist.

In this week's New Statesman (out Thursday 26 January) we're publishing an exclusive new illustration by David Shrigley to coincide with his first major survey exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, London.

David Shrigley: Brain Activity opens on 1 February and features works covering the full range of the British artist's oeuvre -- photography, books, sculpture, animation, painting, music -- as well as new artworks and installations he has created specially for the Southbank Centre show.

As a former New Statesman illustrator one of his large drawings was published in the mag every other week for a year and a half, and above you'll find a few classic Shrigleys dug out from the NS archive for the occasion.

Illustrations originally appeared in the following issues of the New Statesman: 14 June 2010 | 5 July 2010 | 2 August 2010 | 13 September 2010 | 11 October 2010 | 25 October 2010 | 8 November 2010 | 22 November 2010 | 6 December 2010

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Poem: "When the Americans came"

“Do you have vampires around here?”

When the Americans came,

they didn’t take to our gardens:

the apple orchard smelling of wild garlic,

foxgloves growing among the runner beans.


“Do you have vampires around here?”

a visitor from Carolina asked me.

It was a shambles, Wilfred knew that,

nodding wisely as though apologising


for the ill manners of King George,

the clematis purple in the thatched roofing.

But come the softe sonne,

there are oxlips in Fry’s woods,


forget-me-nots in the shallow stream,

lettuce and spring onions for a salad.

It’s certain that fine women eat

A crazy salad with their meat*


I tried to tell them. But they weren’t women,

and didn’t care to listen to a boy.

They preferred the red rosehips

we used for making wine.


Danced outside the village church

round the maypole Jack Parnham made.

Now they’re gone,

the wild garlic has returned.


* W B Yeats, “A Prayer for My Daughter”


William Bedford is a novelist, children’s author and poet. His eighth collection of verse, The Bread Horse, is published by Red Squirrel Press.

This article first appeared in the 20 October 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Brothers in blood