New loans to GOOD GRIEF, CHARLIE BROWN! exhibition and a new series of associated events announced

25 October 2018 – 3 March 2019


New exhibition works include:

  • Kim Jones, Artistic Director of Dior Men’s, has loaned a selection of Peanuts sweatshirts and first edition books from his personal archive
  • A reimagining of Lucy’s Psychiatric Help booth from artist Marcus Coates invites visitors, seeking answers to their questions about life, to share in some talk therapy
  • Artist Ryan Gander presents a new film work and a flag to fly over Somerset House, inspired by his daughter’s drawings of the Peanuts landscape
  • Keepsakes featuring Snoopy and the gang from Vietnam War veterans reveal how Schulz’s canine character became interwoven into the iconography of the Vietnam War for serving US soldiers
  • NASA delves into its archives to provide photographic prints of Snoopy’s space mission to the Moon with Apollo 10, the rehearsal for the historic lunar landings just a couple of months later
  • Lauren LoPrete, creator of This Charming Charlie which became subject to a legal dispute with a major record company, combines lyrics of The Smiths with the Peanuts strips

New events and exhibition extras include:

  • Charles M. Schulz’s widow Jean comes from California to share her personal stories of his life and art
  • Exhibiting artists lead free monthly That’s Art! Tours, taking visitors on a walk and talk through the galleries, sharing insight into the influential impact Schulz’s characters have had on the creation of contemporary works
  • A series of Exhibition Lates, including an Unrequited Love special on Valentine’s Day, bring evenings of entertainment inside the exhibition
  • Artist and Somerset House Studios resident Matthew Plummer-Fernandez launches his new Augmented Reality app Echo Youth, developed with young school children and free to download, enabling audiences to place placards on world issues in public spaces in an echo of the strip’s famous placards and Snoopy’s own Presidential campaign

This autumn, Snoopy, Charlie Brown and co. come to London’s Somerset House for an exhibition exploring the world’s most influential comic strip, Peanuts.  GOOD GRIEF, CHARLIE BROWN! Celebrating Snoopy and The Enduring Power of Peanuts will investigate its impact on the cultural landscape globally, from 1950 to the present, and reveal its relevance for readers today.

Created by American artist Charles M. Schulz, its recurring themes of failure, love and loss and its commentary on issues such as war, racism, feminism and gender-fluidity - told through the prism of child-like characters in bitesize comic strips - resonate as much in 2018 as when they were first printed.   Alongside Charles M. Schulz’s original drawings, a host of eminent figures from the worlds of art, fashion and music will contribute works and collections to the exhibition, offering fresh perspectives on the compelling comic strip and showing how Peanuts has personally spoken to them.  Contributors include fashion designer Kim Jones, street artist KAWS, Turner Prize winner Helen Marten and Turner Prize finalist Fiona Banner, and sound artist Mira Calix.

GOOD GRIEF, CHARLIE BROWN! Celebrating Snoopy and The Enduring Power of Peanuts marks the 70th anniversary of Charles M. Schulz’s iconic character Charlie Brown. Peanuts ran daily until 2000, with Schulz producing 17,897 strips in total.  At its height, it was syndicated to over 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries and translated into 21 languages, reaching a readership of 355 million people worldwide. 

It is the first significant show on the comic strip in the UK and Somerset House will present an unparalleled insight into the life and legacy of both Charles M. Schulz and his beloved creations, with some objects never seen on show before. The comic strips will be showcased in their original state and size (the biggest are around A1; they were subsequently shrunk for printing and publication), enabling audiences to admire his artwork up close and in detail. 

Objects belonging to Schulz will also be on display, as well as original vintage products and publications, which will expose fascinating stories from some of the most momentous times in modern history and prove the power of Peanuts within popular culture.

In addition to those already announced, a number of new loans have been acquired and new works made especially for the exhibition, including a vintage sweatshirt collection from fashion designer Kim Jones, a full-scale version of Lucy’s Psychiatric Help booth by artist Marcus Coates, a flag drawn by Ryan Gander’s four-year-old daughter to be flown above Somerset House, a ‘Silver Snoopy’ from NASA that has travelled to the moon and back, and badges in support of Snoopy’s presidential campaign.

Somerset House will also present a rich programme of spin-off events, taking place at lunchtimes, evenings and weekends.  Charles M. Schulz’s widow and founder of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, Jean Schulz, will start the series by sitting in conversation with contributing artist and lifelong Peanuts fan Andy Holden on the opening day of the exhibition (25 October).  A special Exhibition Late on Valentine’s Day (14 February) will close proceedings, with a look at unrequited love, the love that was typically portrayed in Peanuts.  There will be exclusive events inside the exhibition after hours, including interactions with acclaimed artists, such as former ‘headbuilder’ of the Spitting Image puppets Wilfrid Wood, to meet a match through creative collaboration.  Tickets for talks, tours and Exhibition Late events are available, along with the exhibition tickets, through Somerset House’s website.

Somerset House has also collaborated with Tatty Devine to create a custom jewellery collection of playful Peanuts pieces, handmade in Tatty Devine’s distinctive style, and Beach London on a range of pins, caps, scarfs, totes, pencil cases and stickers. The Good Grief, Charlie Brown! shop will include limited-edition prints of Charles M. Schulz’s original strips, signed by Jean Schulz, and limited-edition lithographs, designed and drawn by the internationally acclaimed artist Christo, of his Wrapped Snoopy House (an admirer of the extraordinary environmental artworks by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Schulz paid tribute to the artists in a 1978 strip). A range of original and inspired gifts for all ages, from clothing (including a large range of T-shirts and sweaters by TSPTR), accessories, collectibles and Christmas decorations to homewares, games, books and stationery, will also be available.

An exhibition catalogue, beautifully illustrated and featuring all the fascinating stories from the show, accompanies at £20.


Further details on the highlights listed in the press release can be found below:



Kim Jones, Artistic Director of Dior Men’s, has loaned a selection of  Peanuts sweatshirts and first edition books from his personal archive.


Sound artist Mira Calix has produced a captivating new processed-based performance work, filmed at Somerset House in August 2018, informed by Schulz’s depiction of musical notation in the strip.  Schulz drew musical scores as an object that can be manipulated, a motif that profoundly influenced Calix’s understanding of music and her path as an artist.  A set of musicians and dancers are constantly distracted and distort the musical and choreographed composition, echoing the physicality of the Peanuts musical notations, behaving like interventions in the physical and sonic landscapes.  Calix said: “Schulz really portrayed music as an animated character throughout the Peanuts strips. It was the first time I had seen musical notation fly, bend, be embraced, wrestled with. He made me consider music as an object in time and space.”

This Charming Charlie, a Tumblr by Oakland-based Lauren LoPrete, mashes up Peanuts strips with lyrics by The Smiths, famous for their articulations of despair, loneliness and unrequited love, much like the Peanuts gang.  When it went viral, LoPrete was issued with take down notices for her work, violating copyright laws with Universal Music Group, guitarist Johnny Marr’s record company.  The story attracted the attention of Morrissey, The Smiths’ singer and lyricist, who publicly expressed his support for This Charming Charlie.  With the help of a fan, LoPrete worked to gain rights back under fair use laws.  Both Universal and Warner (Morrissey’s record company) have given permission for LoPrete’s mash ups to be reproduced in the exhibition.

London based experimental project patten has created a mesmerising new film, featuring a 3D animated Charlie Brown (CB-MMXVIII I’ve been thinking of giving sleeping lessons).  The figure flexes and forms through digital distortions, placing him under strains and stresses and pushing him to his very limits.  The film’s soundtrack combines narration of sampled text from the Peanuts strips, writing from philosophy, science and critical theory, and a reworking of the Peanuts theme tune (a popular jazz composition by Vince Guaraldi) in patten’s inimitable style.


Especially for the exhibition, artist Ryan Gander has made a new film Dancing with my own agencies (The world will adjust to you), an adaptation of a documentary he produced for the BBC last year.  In the film, Gander replicates Pig-Pen’s dirty and dishevelled appearance by covering himself in a cloud of dust and soil. In his first appearance, Pig-Pen states ‘people just call me things … real insulting things’, but his friends Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty accept him for who he is (though the rest of the cast don’t always).  In the film, Gander highlights how, in an age of idealised self on social media, it is refreshing and endearing to be reminded of human fragility and vulnerabilities.

In addition, Gander has created a couple of large-scale works, signalling that Snoopy and the gang are inside Somerset House.  Sitting atop of Somerset House and seen across the London skyline, Out of many, one is a new flag flying over the iconic courtyard, created in collaboration with the artist’s four-year-old daughter.  Gander discussed the Peanuts drawings and ideas with her and she produced a Peanuts-inspired landscape, complete with a thought bubble, in response.  She left, however, all the details blank.  As such, the spectator can project their own readings and realities onto the scene.

Gander has also created Swansong – a huge recreation of Charlie Brown’s lost kite that will be tangled up in the Skate sign, lit up at the top of Somerset House during the winter skating season.

Peanuts has always been an inspiration to Ryan Gander (the exhibition will feature two further works from 2008 and 2013 taking Peanuts as its starting point).  He said: “The work of Schulz means a great deal to me as it’s one of the very few narrative styles that encompasses failure and regret. In a world of Hollywood blockbuster endings, it’s refreshing to see non-idealised narrative rendered in idealised styles”.

In a new interactive installation, artist Marcus Coates invites the public to pose their ‘life questions’ at a reimagining of Lucy’s psychiatry stand (Who Knows?).  Unlike Lucy’s charge of 5¢, the advice dispensed will be free, but could be as equally as direct, depending on who your talk therapist may be.  A set of ‘counsellors’ will sit in at specified times during the exhibition, consisting of people of various backgrounds and life experiences and could include anyone from a judge, ex-offender, recovering alcoholic, quantum physicist, religious leader - or even a professional psychiatrist - who will all bring different perspectives to the predicaments put forward.

Schulz’s cast of children commented on topical issues, so much so that the comic has become a chronicle of the social and political climate in the latter half of the twentieth century.  For his piece, British-Colombian artist and Somerset House Studios resident Matthew Plummer Fernandez worked with a group of young children, who contributed their voices and visions for a better future onto placards.  The placard was a frequent motif in the comic strip, often used by those without a voice in Peanuts (such as Snoopy and Woodstock) to communicate their messages.  These placards have populated an Augmented Reality app called Echo Youth, which allows users to virtually place these demonstration signs in public spaces.  A video version of Echo Youth will also feature in the exhibition.

LA-based collaborative FriendsWithYou will also light up the entrance to the exhibition with their fun and colourful creations.

Pop culture pieces

Peanuts debuted at a turbulent time in US history and the strip subtly - and, at times, explicitly - engaged in serious debate about the issues of the day, particularly so in the 1960s, in a decade dominated by era-defining events such as the Vietnam War and the assassinations of J.F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King (which led to the introduction of the character Franklin – original correspondence with the school teacher who advocated this can be seen in the show).  At this time, many young adults appropriated Peanuts, and Snoopy in particular, seeing the free-thinking and unconventional dog as a reflection of their own mindset, and adopting him as a figurehead for the counter-cultural movement taking shape among their generation.

The exhibition will present a range of memorabilia from this period, including items from the campaigns for the following:

Snoopy for President

Disillusioned with politics and politicians, many young Americans protested by putting forward Snoopy for President, and in the presidential elections of 1968 and 1972, Snoopy became a write-in candidate where some voters named him as an alternative candidate.  California subsequently issued legislature making it illegal to enter the name of a fictional character on the ballot.  This campaign is also the basis for artist Lucas Price’s contemporary work in the show, IMPEACH FUZZ.

Vietnam War

Schulz created Snoopy’s alter-ego - the World War 1 Flying Ace – in 1965, just months after the US started to send troops into Vietnam. Although Schulz did not intend for Snoopy’s adventures to be seen as an allegory for Vietnam, in time he began to use the scenarios of the Flying Ace as a means to express his own feelings about the horrors of war.  In the early days of the Vietnam War, however, Schulz did allow Snoopy to be used as an emblem by the American Army and Navy, in his empathy for those in service. For instance, crews who flew ‘Snoopy Missions’, an operation to locate hidden enemy enclaves, wore a distinctive arm patch featuring Snoopy.  He also gave his name to strategic fortifications and bunkers.  The troops fully embraced the cartoon canine and by being embroidered onto patches, engraved on Zippo lighters, emblazoned onto helmets and jackets, his image was symbolically evoked to become the soldier’s most trusted friend.  A selection of insignia will be shown in the exhibition, from private collectors and Vietnam War veterans themselves.

Race to the Moon

NASA’s Apollo missions aimed to get man to the moon.  In 1967, a fatal fire in Apollo 1 changed the course of spaceship safety design – it took 18 months before NASA was ready to restart the programme.  It was during this time that NASA approached Charles M. Schulz to ask permission to use Snoopy as its official safety mascot.  Soon, the Peanuts strips started to feature the Astrobeagle’s adventures, some even directly referring to current missions.  Snoopy was thus adopted as a mascot by the Apollo 10 crew, who flew the final rehearsal ahead of Apollo 11, the first flight to put man on the moon. 

For the exhibition, NASA has opened up its archives and provided photographs of the momentous mission, from the crew tapping a giant toy Snoopy for luck on their way to the launching pad to astronaut Gene Cernan, the last man on the moon, holding a hand puppet of Snoopy during the Apollo 10 press conference.  The exhibition will also feature an original ‘Silver Snoopy’, the highest honour bestowed by NASA for outstanding services to space safety even today, which was presented to Charles M. Schulz – whose award has even been to the moon and back.


Talk: In conversation with Jean Schulz and contributing artist Andy Holden

Thursday 25 October, 19:00-20:30, Screening Room

£10/£8 conc

In celebration of the life and legacy of Charles M. Schulz, his widow Jean Schulz (to whom he was married for 27 years) shares her personal insights into the mind behind the modest maker and how his ‘little incidents’ became a societal movement of their own, with contributing artist and Peanuts fanatic, Andy Holden.

Tours: That’s Art!

First Wednesday of the month (7 November, 5 December, 9 January, 6 February)

13:00-13:30, Embankment Galleries

Free with exhibition entry

Contributing artists, across the disciplines on display, walk and talk visitors through the exhibition and their relationship with Schulz’s characters, revealing the impact his creations have had on their own over the course of their careers. Speakers include Mira Calix, collector Russ Gater of TSTPR, Somerset House Studios artist Mel Brimfield, and more.

Gallery Late: Peanuts for Your Thoughts

Monday 21 January 2019, 18:30-21:00, Embankment Galleries

£5 plus exhibition entry

For the New Year, Somerset House will open the exhibition for an evening of entertainment and  enlightenment on so-called ‘Blue Monday’.  After hours activities will take attendees on a journey of self-discovery, as special guest artists unpick the thinking behind Peanuts’ philosophical side and share cultural sensibilities to suggest new ways of seeing, doing and being.

Gallery Late: Love is…Unrequited

Thursday 14 February 2019, 18:30-21:00, Embankment Galleries

£5 plus exhibition entry

Somerset House will take a wry look at Valentine’s Day through the work of Charles M. Schulz and his stories of unrequited love, such as Charlie Brown’s longing for the Little Red-Haired Girl.  There will be a set of special events inside the exhibition after hours for creative couples and individuals alike, including the chance to collaborate with artist Wilfrid Wood, a former ‘headbuilder’ for the satirical TV series Spitting Image.



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Inspiring contemporary culture

One of the city’s most spectacular and well-loved spaces, Somerset House is a new kind of arts centre in the heart of London, designed for today’s audiences, artists and creatives – an inspirational community where contemporary culture is imagined, created and experienced.

From its 18th Century origins, Somerset House has played a central role in our society as a place where our culture and collective understanding of the world is shaped and defined. In 2000, it began its reinvention as a cultural powerhouse and home for arts and culture today, creating unique and stimulating experiences for the public, bringing them into direct contact with ideas from the greatest artists, makers and thinkers of our time. Our distinctive and dynamic year-round programme spans the contemporary arts in all its forms, from cutting-edge exhibitions and installations to annual festivals, seasonal events in the courtyard including Film4 Summer Screen, Summer Series and Skate, and an extensive learning and engagement programme.

As well as welcoming over 3million visitors annually, Somerset House houses the largest and most diverse creative communities in the country – from one-person start-ups to successful creative enterprises including MOBO, British Fashion Council, Dance Umbrella, Improbable Theatre, Hofesh Shechter Company, and Dartmouth Films.

In 2016 we launched Somerset House Studios – a new experimental workspace connecting artists, makers and thinkers with audiences. Currently housing over 80 artists and Makerversity (a community of over 250 emergent makers), the Studios are a platform for the development of new creative projects and collaboration, promoting work that pushes bold ideas, engages with urgent issues and pioneers new technologies. 


The Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center is home to the world’s largest collection of Peanuts comic strips. Opened in 2002, the Museum presents the work of Charles M. Schulz with exhibitions and programs that build an understanding of cartoon art, illustrate the scope of the artist’s multi-faceted career, and celebrate the stories he communicated to a global audience. Across the street is Snoopy’s Home Ice, designed and built by the Schulz family.

Visitors can ice skate, enjoy the comfort of the Warm Puppy Café, and browse in Snoopy’s Gallery and Gift Shop. Located in the heart of Sonoma County, California, the Museum in uniquely situated in a region known for world-class vineyards, magnificent redwoods, and beautiful ocean vistas.


With more than 425 wineries, miles of rugged Pacific coastline, towering redwood forests, and its close proximity to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, Sonoma County is a traveller’s dream vacation spot in California. Sonoma County represents the best of Northern California — premium wine, farm-to-table dining, unique resorts and spas, and over 50 state and regional parks. Breathtaking Highway 1 delights visitors with crashing waves, sea lions and otters sunning on the beaches, and fantastic sunsets that colour the sky in brilliant hues. Tasting rooms in the world-class Sonoma wine region range from simple and rustic to elaborate wine castles.