Mothers and Babies Underwater, 2012
Dimensions: 560mm x 400mm, unframed
Medium: Limited-edition giclée print on Aquarelle Arches watercolour paper
Edition of 250
Each individual print is signed by the artist
This limited edition print was specially created to accompany the 2012 exhibition Quentin Blake: As Large as Life and is stocked exclusively by the Foundling Museum.
The biggest of Blake's hospital projects, Mothers and Babies Underwater (2011) was created for the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Angers, France. The maternity building is decorated with a series of fifty drawings which appear throughout, including the midwife station, father's room and the delivery suites. In them, mothers and babies swim together underwater, and look at each other for the first time. It’s a parallel world where their swimming expresses and celebrates their new-found liberty after the pains of labour.
Quentin Blake was born in the suburbs of London in 1932 and has drawn ever since he can remember. He studied English at Downing College, Cambridge, after which he undertook a postgraduate teaching diploma at the University of London, followed by life-classes at Chelsea Art School. For over twenty years he taught at the Royal College of Art, where he was head of the illustration department from 1978 to 1986. His first drawings were published in Punch when he was only sixteen and still at school. He continued to draw for Punch, The Spectator and other magazines over many years, while at the same time entering the world of children's books with A Drink of Water by John Yeoman in 1960. Blake is known for his collaboration with writers such as Russell Hoban, Joan Aiken, Michael Rosen, John Yeoman and, most famously, Roald Dahl. He has also illustrated classic books, including A Christmas Carol and Candid, as well as creating much-loved characters of his own, including Mister Magnolia and Mrs Armitage. Since the 1990s he has had an additional career as exhibition curator, curating shows at the National Gallery, the British Library and the Musée du Petit Palais in Paris. In the last few years he has begun to make larger-scale work for hospitals and healthcare settings in the UK and France where his work can be seen in wards and public spaces.
His books have won numerous prizes and awards, including the Whitbread Award, the Kate Greenaway Medal, the Emil/Kurt Maschler Award and the international Bologna Ragazzi Prize. He won the 2002 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration, the highest international recognition given to creators of children's books. Blake was created CBE in 2005 and received a knighthood for 'services to illustration' in the New Year's Honours for 2013. In 2015 he became an Honorary Freeman of the City of London.