House of Illustration

The House of Illustration is the world’s first centre dedicated to the art of illustration in all its forms.

Our aim is to put illustration centre stage and give it the attention it deserves, revealing the creative processes behind illustration and the way in which it impacts on our daily lives. We want to inspire young people to create illustrations for the world of tomorrow, generate excitement and spark imagination about illustration.

Venue Type:

Gallery

Opening hours

10am - 6pm, Tuesdays to Sundays

Admission charges

Please check before visiting

Getting there

The nearest underground station is King's Cross – take the Regent's Canal exit. Turn right to join King's Boulevard, a pedestrian route going north. Cross over the road and the canal at the top of the Boulevard, and Granary Square is directly in front of you. Head towards the north-east corner and House of Illustration is the smaller building on the right.

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
The Life of Birds

Quentin Blake: The Life of Birds

  • 5 May — 1 October 2017 *on now

"A rare chance to see a selection of original drawings by Blake and enjoy a tightly-focused exhibition dedicated to one of his most rewarding subjects" – Creative Review.

"Brilliantly quirky ornithology and a 'kindly but penetrating' commentary on the human condition” – The Telegraph

This exhibition, curated by Quentin Blake himself, is the first ever to examine a theme that has intrigued him throughout his career – birds.

“I have always liked drawing birds. I can't quite explain why but it may be because like us, they are on two legs and have expressive gestures. It's a way of commenting on the people we see around us without actually drawing individuals.”

It will show a series of original drawings from his personal archive of birds in everyday situations, revealing a kindly but penetrating commentary on the human condition. The subtleties of the birds’ interactions show Blake’s mastery of conveying emotion through expression and gesture, a hallmark of his illustrations.

Many of the works on show were published in Blake’s 2005 book The Life of Birds. The exhibition will also show personal drawings created since 2005 alongside illustrations for Figaro Litteraire, the weekly literary supplement to French daily newspaper Le Figaro. In the introduction to the book illustrator Peter Campbell commented:

“These pictures are the product of half a century spent bringing characters to life on the page. In The Life of Birds Blake follows the path of great illustrators – Grandville and Lear – and fabulists – Aesop and La Fontaine. Blake’s birds are more like novelists’ characters than moralist’s examples. Like Daumier, he creates individuals who are examples of, but not reduced to, types. The drawings are, by turns, insidiously charming, absurdly sad and fiercely observant. They suggest feelings about getting old, about the life of art, about the insufferability of silly people and the unpleasantness of bullies.”

The Quentin Blake Gallery at House of Illustration is the only place in the world to show a continuous but changing exhibition of Blake’s work, exploring his archive of over 35,000 drawings, most of which have never been publicly displayed. It offers a unique insight into the artistic practice of one of the world’s defining illustrators.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Adult ticket with gift aid: £8.25
Adult ticket: £7.50
Concession ticket with gift aid: £5.50
Concession ticket: £5
Child ticket with gift aid: £4.40
Child ticket: £4
Family ticket with gift aid: £19.80
Family ticket: £18

Website

http://www.houseofillustration.org.uk/whats-on/current-future-events/quentin-blake-the-life-of-birds

Background illustration for Ghost in the Shell (1995), cut 477 Watercolour on paper and acrylic on transparent film

Anime Architecture: Backgrounds of Japan

  • 26 May — 10 September 2017 *on now

This is the UK’s first ever exhibition of handmade background illustrations for classic sci-fi anime films. It features drawings and paintings from some of the most influential productions in the genre’s 1990s heyday, including Production I.G’s phenomenally influential 1995 film Ghost in the Shell.

This collection of artists, who share an interest in presenting convincing visions of future worlds, have had a defining influence on the style of anime we think of as typical today.

The show includes Hiromasa Ogura’s watercolour paintings for Ghost in the Shell, an anime epic that informed pioneering sci-fi works such as The Matrix and Avatar. Inspired by Asia’s emerging megacities and based on photographs of Hong Kong, Ogura’s work depicts the striking contrast between a derelict Chinese town and ruthless urban development.

Pencil drawings by Takashi Watabe – one of the most important Japanese illustrators of his generation – for 2008’s sequel Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence also feature. His meticulously realistic style has become a hallmark of Japanese anime films as a whole.

The exhibition also includes work from Patlabor: The Movie (1989) and Metropolis (2001), by Mamoru Oshii and Atsushi Takeuchi.

Since the success of Akira (1988) and Ghost in the Shell, Japanese anime films have been at the heart of global pop culture. A live action remake of Ghost in the Shell starring Scarlett Johansson was released on 31 March 2017.

In association with Les Jardins des Pilotes, Berlin.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Adult ticket with gift aid £8.25
Concession ticket with gift aid £5.50
Child ticket with gift aid £4.40
Family ticket with gift aid £19.80
Adult ticket £7.50
Concession ticket £5.00
Child ticket £4.00
Family ticket £18.00

Website

http://www.houseofillustration.org.uk/whats-on/current-future-events/anime-architecture-backgrounds-of-japan

Jacqueline Ayer: Little sister thinking

Jacqueline Ayer: Drawing on Thailand

  • 16 June — 22 October 2017 *on now

Jacqueline Ayer's picture books were a remarkable addition to 1960s America. Documenting her family’s life around the back lanes of Bangkok, they were the first books published in the US to depict Asian culture authentically. The Paper-Flower Tree and Nu Dang and his Kite will be reissued by Enchanted Lion Books to coincide with the exhibition, for the first time in almost 60 years.

Born in 1930s New York to Jamaican parents, Ayer grew up with Milton Glaser in the first interracial housing in the US. She illustrated for Vogue and worked alongside Andy Warhol before moving to Thailand in the 1950s.

Whilst there she also founded fashion company Design Thai, creating textiles and garments without colonial overtones – her reference book Oriental Fashion is still used by London College of Fashion today.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Adult ticket with gift aid: £8.25
Adult ticket: £7.50
Concession ticket with gift aid: £5.50
Concession ticket: £5
Child ticket with gift aid: £4.40
Child ticket: £4
Family ticket with gift aid: £19.80
Family ticket: £18

Website

http://www.houseofillustration.org.uk/whats-on/current-future-events/jacqueline-ayer-drawing-on-thailand

Gerald Scarfe: Stage and Screen

  • 22 September 2017 — 21 January 2018

On 22 September 2017 House of Illustration opens the first major show of Gerald Scarfe’s striking production designs for theatre, rock, opera, ballet and film, many of which will be publicly exhibited for the very first time.

Gerald Scarfe is the UK’s most celebrated political cartoonist; his 50-year-long career at The Sunday Times reveals an imagination that is acerbic, explosive and unmistakable. But less well known is Scarfe’s lifelong contribution to the performing arts and his hugely significant work beyond the page, designing some of the most high-profile productions of the last 30 years.

This exhibition will be the first to explore Scarfe’s extraordinary work for stage and screen. It will feature over 100 works including preliminary sketches, storyboards, set designs, photographs, ephemera and costumes from productions including Orpheus in the Underworld at English National Opera, The Nutcracker by English National Ballet and Los Angeles Opera’s The Magic Flute.

It will also show his 1994 work as the only ever external Production Designer for Disney, for their feature film Hercules, as well as his concept, character and animation designs for Pink Floyd’s 1982 film adaptation of The Wall. Scarfe’s surreal and often grotesque artwork cemented The Wall’s iconic status in pop culture.

Known for his uncompromising satire in print, Scarfe started drawing for Punch in the 1960s and went on to work as The Sunday Times’ political cartoonist for 50 years, from 1967 until his retirement earlier this year.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Adult with gift aid: £8.35
Concession with gift aid: £5.50
Child with gift aid: £4.40

Website

http://www.houseofillustration.org.uk/whats-on/current-future-events/gerald-scarfe-stage-and-screen

Getting there

The nearest underground station is King's Cross – take the Regent's Canal exit. Turn right to join King's Boulevard, a pedestrian route going north. Cross over the road and the canal at the top of the Boulevard, and Granary Square is directly in front of you. Head towards the north-east corner and House of Illustration is the smaller building on the right.

House of Illustration
2 Granary Square
King's Cross
London
N1C 4BH
England

Website

www.houseofillustration.org.uk

Telephone

020 3696 2020

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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