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Quentin Blake - As large as life

15 October 2011 to 11 December 2011

Quentin Blake is one of Britain's best-loved and most successful illustrators, having won countless awards and appointed Britain’s first Children’s Laureate. He is known by young and old alike, his name having been synonymous with his illustrations for Roald Dahl’s books. Recently Quentin has been commissioned by hospitals in the UK and abroad to produce works which have a therapeutic effect on their residents. Quentin Blake - As large as life brings together over 60 works for the first time at Compton Verney, for visitors to experience their effects for themselves.


Friends in the circus series - Ellington Ward in Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow.

This is an older adults’ mental health ward for which Quentin has made a series of pictures on a circus theme. The series of circus characters – jugglers, tightrope-walkers, fire-eaters and clowns – all of an older age group, forms a display which can be seen as celebrating the lifelong persistence of well-practised talents.


Vincent Square Eating Disorder Clinic, London.

Before making these works, Quentin met the young service-users and discussed his ideas with them. These drawings are a kind of celebration of everyday life, depicting characters feeding birds, walking a dog, painting a self-portrait and a host of other activities.

Maternity hospital, Angers, France.

This is one of Quentin’s biggest hospital projects. The new maternity hospital, part of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, will open its doors to expectant mothers in early October 2011. On entering the building you’re greeted by a feast of Quentin Blakery: the glass facade, the foyer, the midwife station, the fathers' room and each of the 11 delivery suites are animated by drawings based on the theme of the mother meeting her new baby. The mother’s and cherubic babies are shown swimming in perfect synchronicity.

Planet Zog - The Alexandra Avenue Health and Social Care Centre, South Harrow

This hospital caters for young people, and Quentin's enormous Planet Zog drawings now animate waiting areas and other public spaces. Quentin Blake said, “I think the very presence of pictures helps to make being in, or visiting a hospital a more normal, less alien experience. What I have tried to include is a certain amount of detail, some
interesting activities, and some suggestions of the little drama of relationships, so that the viewers – especially any who have to wait – may feel the desire to go on looking and perhaps even to speculate about the stories happening in front of them.”

Visitors to the exhibition will also be able to visit a specially commissioned family room decorated with examples of Quentin’s illustrations for Roald Dahl’s books and his recent designs for wallpapers produced by Osborne & Little.

Organised in collaboration with the House of Illustration

Image: Planet Zog, © Quentin Blake


Buy the As large as life guide now
Watch Satnam Rana's interview with Quentin Blake at Compton Verney for BBC Midlands Today
Listen to Rana Mitter's interview with Quentin on Radio 3 Night Waves







This exhibition is now on tour and can be seen at the following venues

The Foundling Museum, London 12 January - 15 April 2012
Paisley Museum, Renfrewshire 27 April - 24 June 2012
Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle 7 July - 14 October 2012
Kirkby Gallery, Knowsley 29 October 2012 - 13 January 2013 (tbc)
Bankfield Museum, Halifax 2 February - 13 April 2013 (tbc)
Bodelwyddan Castle, Denbighshire 20 April - 14 July 2013 (tbc)
Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry 27 July - 3 November 2013 (tbc)


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