Children’s author and illustrator, James Mayhew recently visited the Prep School, he spent several days with the pupils telling them wonderful stories and painting to music. Mr Mayhew is famous for creating characters such as Ella Bella Ballerina and the Katie series.

James Mayhew specialises in painting pictures inspired by the stories his tells, accompanied by music composed by musicians who were also inspired by the same stories. For instance, pupils heard the story of William Tell (music by Rossini) Sinbad and Scheherazade (music by Rimsky-Korsakov) and the Swan of Tuonela (music by Sibelius). The children then had the opportunity to create their own pictures encouraged by the stories, music and the illustrations James had created.

Finally the whole school witnessed a spellbinding concert, where James painted different interpretations of music played by the award winning Carducci Quartet, who are the Quartet in Residence and Head of Strings at Dean Close School. The audience heard ‘American Quartet’ composed by Antonín Dvořák – who was said to have been inspired by steam trains and the chatter of the tanager bird. Finally, a delighted audience watched as James painted two elegant cats doing the tango whilst the Carducci Quartet played Astor Piazzolla’s ‘Four for Tango’, it was a wonderful way to end a truly inspirational concert.

“Mr Mayhew’s brush worked in time with the music.” explained pupil, Gabi Rogers, “I was mesmerized, watching the pictures come to life on the page whilst the music was playing, it was incredible how quickly he worked.”

James Mayhew commented. “It is a huge honour to work with the talented Carducci Quartet and to be able to interpret their beautiful music for the children. I have enjoyed a wonderful few days here at Dean Close Prep School.”