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Ingpen, Robert

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Artist, Author.

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(1936-    ) Australian artist, illustrator and author, active from the late 1950s; most of his work is nonfiction or fantasy, the latter usually for children; he has also illustrated a very wide range of titles. He is of sf interest for the Australian Gnomes sequence beginning with Australian Gnomes (1979), which won a 1980 Ditmar Award for best novel, though its narrative elements are presented in the form of a fictional encyclopedia. The gnomes in question are miniature humanoids (see Great and Small), a compact autonomous clan known as the Hairy Peruvians, who much resemble Native American folk except for their size. Having been driven from Peru by the Spaniards (see Imperialism), they embark on an elaborate Fantastic Voyage across the Pacific until they reach the Unchosen Land, which is Australia, where they settle (see Wainscot Societies). Their hazardous journey is realistically described in The Voyage of the Poppykettle (graph 1979), a narrative retold by Michael Lawrence as The Poppykettle Papers (1999), with amplified illustrations by Ingpen, some of them with a Steampunk-like polish. Their life in Australia is narrated in The Unchosen Land (1980). [JC]

Robert Roger Ingpen

born Geelong, Victoria: 13 October 1936

works (highly selected)


Australian Gnomes

  • Australian Gnomes (Adelaide, South Australia: Rigby, 1979) [Australian Gnomes: illus/hb/Robert Ingpen]
  • The Voyage of the Poppykettle (Adelaide, South Australia: Rigby Opal Books, 1980) [graph: cover gives "Poppy Kettle": Australian Gnomes: illus/hb/Robert Ingpen]
  • The Unchosen Land (Adelaide, South Australia: Rigby Opal Books, 1980) [graph: Australian Gnomes: illus/hb/Robert Ingpen]
  • The Poppykettle Papers (London: Pavilion Books, 1999) with Michael Lawrence [text by Lawrence: illus expanded from The Voyage of the Poppykettle: illus/hb/Robert Ingpen]



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