'Beyond the Page' at the V&A

Friday 9th October 2015

Quentin talks about his work outside book illustration
Monday 5 October 2015 saw a capacity crowd of V&A Museum Members enjoy a fascinating talk by Quentin Blake.  Titled 'Beyond the Page', the talk showcased some of Quentin's work for museums, hospitals and other public spaces over the last decade, which often sees his work enlarged to many times its original size.

Quentin began by introducing the audience to the tools he prefers for this kind of work: dip pens, quills (from many different birds) and reed pens.  Then followed a whirlwind tour of many of his projects in the UK and France, ranging from Museums (The National Gallery in London and the Petit Palais, Paris) to projects such as a building-sized wrap for a disused tenement in St Pancras.  To date, Quentin has produced more than 320 works for hospitals, from children's wards and maternity departments, to residential wards for patients with eating disorders or older adults with mental health issues.  Many of the UK hospital projects were produced in collaboration with The Nightingale Project, which works to bring art into hospitals to improve patient experience and well-being.

Outside of his hospital work, Quentin also touched on his work with charities and other organisations.  Co-incidentally, The Book Bus celebrated its 10th anniversary on 2 October 2015, and Quentin was able to show pictures of a decade of buses decorated with his distinctive drawings travelling to remote areas of Zambia, Malawi and Ecuador (among others) to bring books to children who would otherwise be unable to access them.  Bringing his work right up to date, he concluded with a look at the wall hanging which was installed in the newly-named 'Bibliotheque Quentin Blake' at the French Institute in London in September.