PREVIEW: Quentin Blake: The Life of Birds, House of Illustration

On display in the House of Illustration’s Quentin Blake Gallery from the 5th May, the exhibition will focus on Blake’s fascination with birds. 

(c) Quentin Blake. 

Curated by Quentin Blake himself, the exhibition is the first to specifically concentrate on his drawings of birds – a theme that has fascinated him throughout his career.

The Life of Birds will showcase a series of original drawings from the illustrator’s personal archive and which have never been displayed to the public before. Many pieces of work were created between 2005 and the present day.

In many of the images, Blake depicts birds in everyday situations which along with the subtleties of the interactions between the birds reveal his intent of conveying emotion through expression and gesture, a hallmark of his illustrations.

Many of the drawings were originally seen in Blake’s 2005 book The Life of Birds. The exhibition will also be showcasing a number of personal drawings created since 2005 alongside illustrations for Figaro Litteraire, the weekly literary supplement to French daily newspaper Le Figaro. 

Displayed in the House of Illustration, the Quentin Blake Gallery is the only place in the world in which people can see a continuous exhibition of the illustrators work – constantly changing to explore his archive of 35,000 drawings – many of which have never been displayed publicly before.

Quentin Blake: The Life of Birds will be on display at the House of Illustration from the 5th May until the 1st October. For more information visit:

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