BRITAIN'S most popular living poet and illustrator will launch his first art collection in York.

Giles Andreae is best known by his alter egos of Purple Ronnie and Edward Monkton.

Now, for the first time, he has transformed some of his work as Monkton into six limited edition silkscreen pictures to be exhibited at York Castle Galleries over the summer.

The pieces beautifully encapsulate Monkton's lyrical and thought-provoking musings on modern day life. Each image is printed on handmade paper using a hand-pulled silkscreen process and is embossed with the Monkton trademark logo.

The familiar black line work that is a feature of Monkton pieces has been reproduced in glossy ink and fine art publisher Washington Green has added the colour.

Mr Andreae's sales of greetings cards featuring both designs have reached 80 million in the UK alone, making him Britain's best selling living poet and an icon of contemporary popular culture.

"Everything begins with the words," he said. "At heart I am a poet, though a poet is really just the same as a painter with words.

"I want to touch people's hearts, to inspire them, and of course, to make them smile. The word that appeals to me most about my work is playful'. I believe that this collection will resonate most strongly with people who have profound spirits, yet playful hearts.

"Love, happiness, truth, beauty and the struggle of the soul to create meaning out of life are subjects that are very natural for me to explore."

The pieces include: The Shoe Of Salvation; The Penguin Of Death; The Butterfly Of Freedom and Where Are We Going? Only 195 of each design will be printed.

The pieces will be on display at York Castle Galleries until the end of July.

For more information, phone 01904 625100.