Tintin Exhibition at Somerset House - Review

January 13, 2016

Thundering typhoons! After an extremely busy Christmas events period, we have finally found time to visit Somerset House for TINTIN: Hergé’s Masterpiece (to give it its full title), an exhibition at this glorious London venue, which looks at the life of Tintin’s creator (is the Belgian detective’s name meant to be capitalised? We aren’t sure.) With only a few weeks left to enjoy this free experience in the heart of central London, we thought we’d give you the lowdown on what you can see!

Let’s start this with a simple statement: For anybody who is or has ever been a huge fan of Hergé’s Tintin and Snowy (and the various characters that inhabit his world from Captain Haddock to Thomson and Thompson), this is a must visit exhibition if you are in the capital. The detective himself actually takes more of a backseat, with stories and quotes from his creator more the emphasis here. Who was Hergé? Who was Chang? How did his career progress? Through gorgeous illustrations on every wall (including a cute one under the fireplace!) and a video, the pieces of the young artist’s life slowly begin to form.

The most inviting parts of the exhibition though are the original sketches from Hergé’s archive – on loan from the Hergé Museum just outside Brussels in Belgium – as well as the newspapers that first carried Tintin’s adventures in small four panel strips. Keeping up with the story across many days and weeks must have been quite the task, even though it was printed in the hallowed pages of Belgium’s most successful daily, Le Soir.

 Another piece of enjoyment that fans can gain from a trip to Somerset House are the scale models. Two of these have been created and taken straight from scenes in Tintin’s books, whilst others – of the detective’s apartment and Marlinspike Hall, seen during the search for Red Rackham’s Treasure – are exquisite creations that bring another dimension to Tintin in the modern day.

Although a small exhibition (it only encompasses three rooms), it embodies the phrase “quality over quantity” and is well worth a visit if you’re able to get to Somerset House to see it. Seeing and experiencing everything will only take you an hour, but it’ll be an hour well spent!




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By Henry Fosdike