Quentin Blake: Gifted

40 Brunswick Square London WC1N 1AZ
25 Jun 2021 — 26 Sep 2021
  • Exhibitions & Displays

There are few artists in the World as universally loved as Sir Quentin Blake. To say his name is to conjure instant recognition of his distinctive style and to recall a moment from your own childhood. If an image can say a 1000 words, then a drawing by Blake can tell an entire story!

Thanks to an incredible gift from Blake, we are displaying 24 large-scale drawings for you to enjoy. The works form two emotive series, Children and Dogs, and Children, Birds & Dogs, the latter made especially for us, which convey the internal emotional landscape of childhood. Check out the gallery below to see some of the pictures on display.

We’re reversing Blake’s iconic process of illustration, by setting words to his images. We’ve asked long-time collaborator Michael Rosen and writers Opefoluwa Sarah Adegbite, Jackie Kay, Yomi Sode, 4 BROWN GIRLS WHO WRITE (Roshni Goyate, Sharan Hunjan, Sunnah Khan and Sheena Patel) and Ben Westwood, to create poems in response to the drawings, for display alongside them. We’ll also be running a competition, inviting children to write and illustrate their own chapters of a story, inspired by one of Blake’s new works. Details will be released on our website, shortly.

Given the growing crisis in children’s mental health, we hope that these drawings together, with our accompanying events programme, will create opportunities to reflect on the importance of the arts in supporting children’s wellbeing.

‘The drawings in my donation look at the relationship of the children I draw with living things around them – sometimes positive but often tentative – comparable to the ones they may have to the world around them. I hope they invite our sympathy but also our respect’. Sir Quentin Blake.

Where Do You Get Your Ideas From?

We’re also excited to announce that alongside Quentin Blake: Gifted, renowned children’s author and illustrator, Lauren Child CBE is curating a programme of digital and live events, to explore the role of illustrators and writers in addressing children’s fears and anxieties. Our full programme will be announced shortly, but you can look forward to a line-up that includes an In Conversation evening with Child, a series of online Bedtime Stories for the littlies, a specially composed piece by composer Kerry Andrew, and events with author Sarah Crossan and illustrators Sara Fanelli and Trisha Krauss.

Foundling Fellows

Sir Quentin Blake, Lauren Child CBE and Jackie Kay CBE, are all Foundling Fellows. Blake and Kay became Fellows in 2020, alongside Jonny Banger, designer and owner of subversive fashion label Sports Banger. You can find out more about our Foundling Fellows here.