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Over the weekend, I had the very great pleasure of a visit to London by my friends from Besançon, the illustrator, Joseph Vernot, and Virgile Lanz of Atelier Virgül. One of the highlights of our weekend was the visit to the House of MinaLima, the team responsible for the graphic art and graphic props of the Harry Potter films.

What we hadn’t expected was to run into one half of the MinaLima duo, Miraphora Mina (right, in the last picture above), just as we were leaving, and to get the chance to speak to her at length. I have to credit the boldness of my friends in this, as, had I been alone, my shyness would have done away with the opportunity at once and I would have come away kicking myself. Miraphora was very kind and friendly and asked whether we were designers ourselves. Sadly, I do not have photographic evidence of our meeting, as the gaucheness of the request was more than I could brave, even in that moment of unusual courage. You will have to either trust my honesty or appeal to Miraphora for verification!

The strangeness of the day continued when, later in Waterstones Piccadilly, we ended up speaking to Lucy, one of the staff members in the children’s section, who, upon discovering that I was the illustrator of The Nutcracker, bought the sole copy of the book on display there and then, and asked me to sign it. By the end of the day, as we made our way to Cornellisen, we were almost certain we were going to run into someone like Alan Lee making a purchase there (we didn’t, alas).


The only picture of us we managed — at Embankment Underground station, of all places. From right, Joseph, Virgile, and yours truly.