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The story begins here, where it ends, at Gilbert White's House, the former home of the 18th-century naturalist.
It lies in Selborne, a quiet village east of Winchester, and now serves as a small museum that includes an exhibition dedicated to Captain Lawrence Oates.
"I don't think one can say, I declare this penguin open, so I think I'll just confine myself to saying… "Wallop, who lives nearby in Farleigh Wallop, pulls off the paper wrapping, which briefly threatens to envelop him. Had it not died less than two years ago, it would now be starting its walk from the pack ice to its nesting area. More unlikely than the penguin's new home is, perhaps, its final, 10,000-mile journey to this room.
A triumph of logistics and good fortune, it was possible thanks only to the collaboration of: a multimillionaire peer of the realm; a senior British diplomat more used to keeping peace in the South Atlantic; an enterprising professor inspired by 100-year-old eggs; and a one-eyed butcher-turned-taxidermist from Essex, known as "Steve the Stuffer".
Before I knew it, lots of people wanted to design an Essentials cover for me.
I think these creatives were drawn in by the Penguin brand and that the titles up for grabs were fantastic; people were queueing up to do a George Orwell or a Jack Kerouac cover.
Our commissions became increasingly unexpected and brave and we started contacting up-and-coming creatives from further afield.
And now, after an intrepid two-year odyssey, it's mission accomplished.
, redesigning the covers to convey that the stories had contemporary relevance.
I started thinking about what was turning young people on, and looked everywhere for inspiration: skateboard shops, record covers, street art and fashion.
exhibition is significant as the covers have never been recognised as a body of work before and it is moving to see the work of so many talented individuals displayed together.
Working on the Penguin Essentials was a real career high and I am very proud that the series remains as energised and exciting as when it was first launched 20 years ago.