Whitchurch was home to a world-renowned illustrator – yet so many locals aren’t aware of his wonderful work!

That is all set to change with the launch of our brand-new festival.

Caldecott Arts Festival will not only celebrate the life of the inspiring 19TH century artist Randolph Caldecott, we also want to raise the profile of the historic market town of Whitchurch that nurtured his talent and bring the community together for a brilliant day out.

We plan that the festival will become an biannual event to inspire the next generation of artists to fulfil their creative potential!

Randolph Caldecott


This is the star of the festival – Randolph Caldecott.

Randolph moved from Chester to Whitchurch aged 15. Everywhere he went he just couldn’t stop drawing. He wandered about the countryside drawing animals and everything else he could see and dreamed of becoming an artist one day. However, Randolph’s father, an accountant, wanted him to work in banking.

Randolph followed his father’s wishes and begun his banking career, whilst studying art at night. Eventually aged 26 he quit his job and went on to live his dreams as an illustrator! He wanted to make people smile with his work and he wanted to travel the world doing it.

He went from Whitchurch to Manchester and then on to London, he then travelled all over Europe and America to work. During his adult life he became a famous illustrator of children’s books and hilarious travel books, and his work has since been featured at the National Gallery, the British Museum, the Royal Academy and the V&A.

The Caldecott Medal annually recognises an illustrator for the “most distinguished American picture book for children” and is awarded by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) in the USA.

His publisher F. Warne and Co. said he, “added to technical accomplishment he had a spirit of fun and a sense of the joy of life”, which shined through all his work and made his illustrations a pleasure for all ages.

We hope you will join us in celebrating his life and be inspired to reach for the stars!

Some of Caldecotts artwork