Entertainment & Arts

Quentin Blake rallies illustrators for auction

Quentin Blake, one of the UK's best-known illustrators, has rallied his fellow artists to help raise funds for a centre dedicated to the art of illustration.

Illustrators including Raymond Briggs, Eric Carle, Ronald Searle and Gerald Scarfe have submitted original works for auction at Sotheby's in December.

Proceeds go towards the founding of the House of Illustration - what has been described as "the world's first dedicated home for the world's most accessible artform".

The group of 28 drawings are on sale as part of Sotheby's winter sale of English Literature, History, Children's Books and Illustrations on 16 December.

"There's a terrific diversity of style," said Blake, who is perhaps best known for his distinctive illustrations in the books of Roald Dahl.

The works on sale include an original butterfly illustration by Eric Carle, famous for The Very Hungry Caterpillar (auction estimate £3,000-£5,000).

Image caption Quentin Blake worked with Roald Dahl for 15 years

There is also a Nude on a Leopardskin by the late Beryl Cook, and political satires by Times cartoonist Peter Brookes and Gerald Scarfe.

"I know quite a lot of the artists," Blake said. "One or two are old students of mine. I've reached the stage where some of my students are retiring!"

The 77-year-old artist, a former head of illustration at the Royal College of Art, has been a driving force behind the House of Illustration project. The building will be housed in the King's Cross regeneration area of London, and the charity is looking to raise more than £6.5m.

"We want the House of Illustration to demonstrate the diversity of it, and you can see some of that here, " said Blake, as he gave the BBC a preview of the auction works.

His own contribution is a watercolour of Roald Dahl's character, the BFG.

He explained why he chose to paint this character, saying: "I feel very close to it. I remember working on that book with Roald very well.

"It was really the book on which we got to know each other best. And I got to know him and his family, so it means a lot to me.

"It's got the BFG, a giant figure who represents Roald for me, and this smaller figure who's Clown - the main character in a story of mine - and that's very close to me as well, so it's like we're both there."

Prior to the sale, the illustrations will be on view to the public in Sotheby's galleries from 12-15 December.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites