Pia’s World by Julia Peyton-Jones

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PIA’S WORLD
JULIA PEYTON-JONES Hurtwood Press (UK) and Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther und Franz König (EU)Pia’s World. Book Cover. © 2021 Julia Peyton-Jones

These are beautiful drawings and the book is a beautiful gift from a mother to a daughter.’ – Tracey Emin

In this new book, launching in August 2021, Julia Peyton-Jones tells the touching story of her life with her three-year-old daughter Pia over the course of a year. Made every evening once her daughter had gone to bed, this beautiful series of drawings comprises a visual diary of their lives in the lead-up to and during the pandemic. The resulting book is both a record of this time and a gift to Pia for her to look back on in the future.

Peyton-Jones is best known for her pioneering work as the director of London’s Serpentine Galleries, where she made an outstanding contribution to international culture that earned her the title of DBE. But at heart, she is and has always been an artist. After twenty-five years at the Serpentine Galleries, she took a courageous change of direction, becoming a mother at the age of sixty-four, starting a new job at Thaddeus Ropac, a commercial gallery of international acclaim, and returning to her roots as an artist.

Peyton-Jones saw her drawings as a way of depicting the ebb and flow of family life, recording the eventful and uneventful occurrences over twenty-four hours. She began by arranging her sketches, executed in ink, charcoal, pencil and watercolour, in grid formations that act like windows onto selected moments in each day, accompanied by captions. As the book develops, the drawings burst into colour and are complemented by reflections on motherhood, as well as signposts that reflect the state of the world as it was changing.Pia’s World
Pia in her sunglasses eating a lollipop / Pia and me running on a beach / Pia and Julia, 2020
© 2021 Julia Peyton-Jones


At the heart of the book is the tender relationship between a mother and her daughter, which is both deeply personal and simultaneously universal. During the pandemic, mother and child are contained in a bubble, watching the park and the spaces they once occupied from their window. Everyday events such as morning cuddles, breakfast, playing hide and seek, bath time, cooking and bedtime stories become treasured highlights of the days, which roll by with all sense of time collapsed. When lockdown lifts, we share their joyful return to normality.

With this artist’s book, the legendary museum director Julia Peyton-Jones returns to her origins as an artist. These wonderful drawings are the first public manifestations of her return to the studio and an art career that started in the late 1970s with paintings, film and performances. Charting her everyday life with her daughter in words and images, this inspiring book is first and foremost a story about happiness.’ – Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries 

This visual diary is an illustration of Peyton-Jones’ treasuring of her daughter. Immersing myself in these touching drawings takes me back to my own days of motherhood. They’re so full of warmth, wonder and love, I’m left wanting more.’ – Philippa Perry, Psychotherapist and Author Pia’s World
Shower / getting dressed / taking Pia to school. Emails / phone calls. Hugs with Pia / taking Pia to the park / tea. Hide and seek / meltdown before bed / studio.
© 2021 Julia Peyton-Jones
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