Quentin Blake: Drawn by Hand at Cambridge's Fitzwilliam Museum

By Culture24 Reporter | 26 February 2013

Exhibition preview: Quentin Blake: Drawn by Hand, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, until May 12 2013

A photo of a male artist sitting at a desk in his studio covered in inks and materials
Quentin Blake in his studio© Quentin Blake. Photo: Linda Kitson
Quentin Blake’s Knighthood might give a timely feel to this exhibition, but the Fitzwilliam’s exhibition draws on two bodies of work by the master illustrator which are perhaps less well known.

The first is a series of depictions of mothers swimming underwater with their babies, made to decorate the maternity unit of Angers Hospital, in France, and the Birthing Centre of the Rosie Hospital in Cambridge.

The second is The Life of Birds – a string of animals-turned-humans in which birds are given mortal qualities, producing a somewhat somber series

Blake says the collection of etchings and lithographs is “a sort of odyssey on the drawing board”, allowing visitors to scrutinise the diversity of Roald Dahl’s partner in classics and the techniques he deploys.

They are accompanied by brochures, watercolours, quills and materials from the artist’s studio.

  • Open 10am-5pm (12pm-5pm Sunday, closed Monday except Bank Holidays). Admission free. Follow the museum on Twitter @FitzMuseum_UK.

More pictures:


An image of an illustration in black ink showing various birds standing up wearing clothes
Guided Tour, from the Life of Birds series© Quentin Blake
An image of an illustration of a mother figure cradling a baby, both covered in pink ink
Salle de Naissance 1. Artwork for the maternity unit at the Angers University Hospital, France© Quentin Blake
An image of a colour and ink illustration of a horse bounding over a hill carrying a child
Cover artwork from Rosie's Magic Horse, by Russell Hoban (Walker Books, 2012)© Quentin Blake
An image of an ink illustration of a figure holding up a bird against a light pink backdrop
Insect etching (2012)© Quentin Blake
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