Roald Dahl illustrator Quentin Blake's hospital art in As Large as Life at the Laing Art Gallery

By Ben Miller | 24 August 2012
An image of a cartoonish ink illustration showing figures floating in a fairytale blue sky
A Quentin Blake illustration from the series Welcome to Planet Zog is one of the works visiting Newcastle
© Quentin Blake
Exhibition: Quentin Blake: As Large as Life, Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, until October 14 2012

Roald Dahl illustrator Quentin Blake's illustrations for hospitals refuse to shy from the reality of the corridors they brighten.

An image of an aqua green illustration of a figure lying on the ground surrounded by sea creatures
From the series Mothers and Babies Underwater© Quentin Blake
Mental health and eating disorders are among the themes commissioned by medical authorities here and abroad, including Mothers and Babies Underwater, in Agnes, France, and Welcome to Planet Zog, at the Alexandra Avenue Health and Social Care Centrein South Harrow.

“I think the very presence of pictures helps to make being in or visiting a hospital a more normal, less alien experience,” he says.

“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.”

An image of an ink and light red paint illustration of a figure breathing fire above a dog
From the series Our Friends in the Circus© Quentin Blake
Outside of their intended setting, they make for a chance to admire the work of one of our greatest graphic artists, appointed the inaugural Children’s Laureate in 1999.

“We are thrilled to host this exhibition,” says curator Julie Milne.

“The themes included are challenging and, typically, Blake has produced work that is sensitive but also fun and life affirming. We hope visitors to the exhibition will be captivated by these commissioned works.

An image of an ink and paint illustration of two figures sitting on a grassy hill reading
From the series Ordinary Life in Vincent Square© Quentin Blake
“Blake’s work has also provided the inspiration for many of the activities that we are hosting over the summer, which we hope will keep visitors young and old busy and entertained.”

Drop-in classes, fun themed around Blake’s characters, juggling and even fire-eating feature.

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