Quentin Blake’s Roald Dahl Illustrations Get Museum Show

British cartoonist and illustrator, Quentin Blake at the press preview for
British cartoonist and illustrator, Quentin Blake at the press preview for "Quentin Blake: Inside Stories" at London's House of Illustration on July 1, 2014. Photo: Ben Stansall, courtesy Agence France Presse/Getty Images.

Ludwig Bemelmans isn’t the only famous children’s book author and illustrator getting the museum exhibition treatment this summer: London’s House of Illustration is inaugurating its first permanent home with “Quentin Blake: Inside Stories,” an exhibition dedicated to the 81-year-old artist best known for bringing to life the imaginative works of Roald Dahl, reports the Huffington Post.

Blake, who drew from an early age, had his first cartoon published at the tender age of 16. In 1960, he began working in children’s book illustration, and in 1975 his partnership with Dahl began. Blake gave birth to countless classic images: Willy Wonka in his purple coat; the indomitable Bruce Bogtrotter, fearlessly eating a gigantic chocolate cake in Matilda; the BFG and his oversize ears. The artist’s quirky imagery was the perfect mate to Dahl’s beloved prose, and generations of children would be hard pressed to separate one from the other.

Quentin Blake, the BFG. Photo: Quentin Blake.

Quentin Blake, the BFG.
Photo: Quentin Blake.

In addition to his well-known collaborations with Dahl, Blake also provided illustrations for authors such as John Yeoman, Russell Hoban, and Michael Rosen, and published his own picture book, titled Clown. At the House of Illustration, visitors will get a firsthand look at Blake’s original artwork, with more than 100 pieces in ink, watercolor, pastels, and other materials. Finished artworks are accompanied by rough sketches and storyboards.

Quentin Blake, Bruce Bogtrotter in <em>Matilda</em>. Photo: Quentin Blake.

Quentin Blake, Bruce Bogtrotter in Matilda.
Photo: Quentin Blake.

The institution, which has been hosting temporary exhibitions of illustrations at other venues since forming in 2002, is the first of its kind. Future programming will cover political cartoons, advertisements, scientific illustrations, and fashion drawings. Blake, who founded the museum with Emma Chichester Clark, told the BBC that “illustration has been one of the most distinctive strands in the history of British art. It’s one of the things that the British are good at—we don’t say that often enough.”

“Quentin Blake: Inside Stories” is on view at the House of Illustration, London, through November 2.

Quentin Blake, the Witches. Photo: Quentin Blake.

Quentin Blake, the Witches.
Photo: Quentin Blake.


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