Quentin Blake: Gifted

At: The Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AZ

25 June 2021 - 26 September 2021

More info: https://foundlingmuseum.org.uk/events/quentin-blake-gifted/

Thanks to a generous gift of original artworks from Quentin Blake, the Foundling Museum is displaying 24 large-scale drawings for visitors to enjoy. The works form two emotive series: Children and Dogs (2005), taken from a larger series of drawings in black pen & ink; and Children, Birds & Dogs, in coloured oil pastel, the latter made especially for the Museum in 2019, and both of which convey the internal emotional landscape of childhood. 

Quentin's usual process of illustration is reversed in the exhibition, by setting words to his images instead of the other way around: the Foundling Museum has asked Quentin's 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.

Quentin became a 'Foundling Fellow' in 2020.  The Museum website explains: Our biennial Foundling Fellowships enable outstanding creative individuals to animate the relationship between philanthropy, creativity and children’s welfare. Each of our Fellows creates a project, idea or workshop to involve and inspire young people and contribute to the work of the Museum.  Other Foundling Fellows include Jackie Kay and Lauren Child CBE.

Given the growing crisis in children’s mental health, the Museum hopes that these drawings and accompanying events programme will create opportunities to reflect on the importance of the arts in supporting children’s well-being.

Quentin commented: ‘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’