Quentin's art draws visitors to UK wetlands

Wednesday 10th May 2023

The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) has agreed a year-long partnership with renowned illustrator Sir Quentin Blake, bringing his art to their ten wetland sites and an exhibition of rarely-seen works to selected centres. 

Four sites (WWT London Wetland Centre, WWT Slimbridge, WWT Martin Mere and WWT Castle Espie) will host an exhibition of some of Quentin Blake’s wetland-themed prints, with images on display using everything from pens, inks and washes to quills from the birds he has illustrated to help bring their subjects to life.  The selection of 54 prints on display provide a unique glimpse into Quentin’s view of wetlands and of how we humans interact with their wildlife, plants and water.    Capturing interactions between people, birds and other wildlife in everyday situations as well as a parallel world where people are accompanied by birds, all the works are rendered in Quentin’s distinctive style.
Throughout the partnership, “Drawn to Water: Quentin Blake at WWT”, each of the ten sites will also run three seasonal trails with guides using selected illustrations from Quentin Blake to help inspire visitors to view the wonder of wetland nature in a different way.  Each trail will highlight the natural spectacles of the season, showcasing new life, sparkling water, migrant birds and other annual wetland phenomena. These trails will run alongside a range of art and illustration activities to inspire all ages and abilities, helping everyone experience nature in new, unexpected ways.
The exhibition and the seasonal trails both offer a chance to explore some of Quentin’s lesser-known work on a theme that has intrigued him throughout his life: birds.   Commenting on the partnership, Quentin Blake said: “I am delighted to be sharing my pictures with WWT sites and their visitors through the Drawn to Water experience. This project appealed to me because I have a lifelong fascination of drawing wetland wildlife, especially birds.   I can't quite explain why but it may be because like us, they are on two legs and have expressive gestures. The drawings you will see are from my own personal archive, and many have rarely been seen in public before.  Through Drawn to Water I hope that seeing my artwork in places where these creatures are thriving will allow new audiences to enjoy wetland wildlife as much as I do, perhaps prompting a few people to pick up a pen, pencil or even a quill and do their own drawing.”

Head of Experience and Engagement at WWT Cath Cooke said: “We’re so excited to begin this partnership with Quentin Blake, and to share his passion for the beauty and wonder of the natural world with our visitors.  We’re looking forward to welcoming people of all ages to our wetland sites to experience the very best of seasonal nature. Whether you come for a wetland walk, an afternoon of art appreciation or to enjoy our programme of events and activities, there’s something for everyone.  Quentin’s illustrations bring our wetlands to life beautifully and whether you are brand new to wetlands or have appreciated them for years, Drawn to Water will help you see them in new and exciting ways.”

'Drawn to Water' trails and events officially launch on 18 May, running until Spring 2024.  Visit the WWT website or #WWTQuentinBlake on social media to find out more and begin a wetland adventure!

New digital stickers are now available on Giphy to celebrate the partnership: use them to record your best wetland-inspired moments, and share on social media