Children’s book illustrator Quentin Blake is celebrated at a fun new portraiture exhibition.
Hull Central Library has just welcomed a new exhibition through its doors, and it’s something just a little bit special. The Roald Dahl Centenary Portraits is a collection of ten portraits by Quentin Blake of Roald Dahl’s most iconic characters. First on show at the British Library in London in 2016, the works can now be seen in our very own City of Culture until 13 September.
The portraits are each large watercolour and pencil depictions of some of Roald Dahls most popular characters, including Matilda, Charlie Bucket and the BFG (along with Sophie). The collection also features a personal favourite of mine, The Twits. Each piece has been created as if the subjects have been asked to sit for a portrait, rather than appearing as you might expect in one of the great author’s books.
Each of the portraits is new and has never appeared in any of Roald Dahls books. In creating these new works, Quentin Blake, who is as closely intertwined within the world of Roald Dahl as anyone could ever be, has brought the characters to life one more, in a truly wonderful way.
A few years ago, it was unlikely that exhibitions like this would make their way to Hull, never mind making it the first stop on a country-wide tour. This is just weeks after Hull hosted the Children’s Laureate handover, from Chris Riddell to Lauren Child, and the city’s first Children’s Literature Festival, The Big Malarkey. With the city’s growing status as an arts and culture destination, this is just the latest example of many high-quality exhibitions that the city will play host to over the next few years.
As an author and children’s illustrator, who has been influenced in no small way by Quentin Blake’s work it was a huge honour to be asked by the Library service to host a series of illustration workshops across the city, in conjunction with the exhibition.
Today, the 29th July, I will be at Ings library between 10am and 12pm. You can then find me on Saturday 12th August at the Fred Moore Library and on the 26th August at Hull Central Library. The Quentin Blake and Roald Dahl inspired workshops are open to all ages.
Rounding things off on the 13th September, which also happens to be the birthday of Roald Dahl himself, I will be working with local children to create a large piece of art as part of the author’s birthday celebration.