As part of Knowsley’s year as the Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture 2022, Kirkby Gallery will present a touring exhibition from House of Illustration, Quentin Blake: Illustrating Verse – a free collection of 120 works by the world-renowned artist and illustrator, Sir Quentin Blake.
Sir Quentin Blake has been illustrating poetry throughout his 60-year career, creating illustrations for a huge variety of poets. From 17 January to 16 April 2022, the gallery will be home to a wonderful collection of these works, selected by the artist himself.
Blake is probably best known for his work with Roald Dahl and the images her created for famous novels like George’s Marvellous Medicine and The BFG. In this exhibition, visitors can enjoy seeing Blake’s roughs, preliminary sketches and finished artworks for both modern and classical writers, from Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll, to Michael Rosen and John Yeoman, as well as illustrations for Blake’s own popular poems such as Mr Magnolia and All Join In.
Cllr Shelley Powell, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods said:
“This will be Kirkby Gallery’s first exhibition to be presented as part of our year as Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture, and what a fantastic start. We are delighted to be bringing this wonderful show to Knowsley and the wider region.
“For many of us, Quentin Blake’s work is synonymous with childhood, whether that’s our own or that of our children, or grandchildren. Even if you don’t recognise his name, I am sure you will recognise his work. His beautiful illustrations sparked our imaginations as we read about the inspirational Matilda, or the vile Mr and Mrs Twit and we can’t wait to see his original work up close. It is a show not to be missed.”
A highlight of the exhibition will be his illustrations for Edward Lear’s The Owl and The Pussy-Cat, a poem that will be celebrated across the Knowsley with a huge sculpture trail featuring 15 pairs of 2-metre-high owls and pussy-cats. Also displayed will be an illustration for a poem by William Shakespeare, another writer with significant links to the borough who will be celebrated during 2022 when The Shakespeare North Playhouse opens.
Cllr Powell continued: “This exhibition is the perfect start to Kirkby Gallery’s year. Not only does it perfectly reflect the Borough of Culture theme of storytelling, but it also provides yet another opportunity to celebrate the work of Lear and Shakespeare two amazing figures also connected to Knowsley.”
“We’re sure visitors young and old will be enchanted by this exhibition, which will be completely free to attend, and we can’t wait to see you there.”
Photo credit: Mr Magnolia by Quentin Blake © Quentin Blake.