*Update: we are delighted to announce the auction raised a total of £229,750 – huge thanks to those who placed a bid and to everyone else who supported the fundraiser!*
You’ve got until 16 December to bid for your very own original artwork by Quentin Blake, 200 of which are now under the virtual hammer on the Christie’s website.
Check out our 20 picks from the works up for grabs – then go and enjoy the other 180 at the free online viewing room where you can bid for your own favourites.
Bidding starts at £100 and all funds raised will go towards our ongoing projects, including creative resources for schools and families and the development of our future home, the Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration.
1. Bibliothèque Quentin Blake Alternative Logo #1, 2015 (lot 3)
This cheerful book-laden bird is one of several alternative logo designs for the Bibliothèque Quentin Blake, the children's library at London's Institut Français whose walls sport murals designed by the artist.
2. and 3. Feet in the Water #2 and #4, 2019 (QB Papers) (lots 12 and 14)
On this cold Wednesday in December, these summery images from Feet in the Water are particularly alluring. Feet in the Water is the first instalment in the QB Papers series: “sequences of drawings which explore subjects which interest me,” according to Sir Quentin.
4. Stop Smearing Yoghurt on Your Brother, 2020 (lot 20)
This relatable scene is an alternative drawing for Never Grow Up, a forthcoming title inspired by Roald Dahl’s Oh The Places You’ll Go.
5. and 6. Sunshine Travellers #1 and #2, 2020 (lots 22 and 23)
These travel-themed illustrations were part of a series of #IsolationArtwork[s], created during the distinctly travel-free lockdown period.
“The idea of ways of travelling is something that almost anyone of any age can relate to,” says Sir Quentin – and is especially dreamy when travel is largely off the table.
7. Isolation Artwork #2, 26 March 2020 (lot 25)
This fantastical flying scene is an even more dreamy drawn escape from the realities of lockdown, and another from the #IsolationArtwork series.
8. Alternative for the 2020 Hastings Storytelling Festival Logo #1, 2020 (lot 28)
As a consummate storyteller in both words and pictures, Sir Quentin must surely be the perfect designer for a storytelling festival.
This happy bibliophile with an armful of books would surely agree with the artist that “there are books that have magic in them, but particularly in young lives, all books are magic.”
9. Two Aunts and an Infant, 2009 (lot 63)
These anthropomorphic insects demonstrate Sir Quentin’s uncanny ability to make almost any subject charming and relatable. They’re from a series turned into etchings for a 2012 exhibition.
10. and 11. Wildlife Artists of the Year #1 and #2, 2019 (lots 65 and 66)
These Wildlife Photographer of the Year-inspired drawings and from another book in the QB Papers series, showing an assortment of artists attempting to capture the wonders of nature.
“There are about 20 to 30 drawings in each book and I could do a set of those in bed, you know?” says Sir Quentin. “I hope they’re amusing.”
12. Red Faces #2, 2019 (lot 106)
“I am very interested in the play of expression,” says Sir Quentin of the Beautiful Thoughts series of which this bemused face is part. “I hope you will respond to my invitation to imagine what each of them might be for you.”
13. Birds as People #6, 2006 (lot 108)
Sir Quentin has always been drawn to birds – so much so that we had an entire exhibition about his ornithological explorations, Quentin Blake: The Life of Birds in 2017.
“I have always liked drawing birds,” he says. “I can't quite explain why but it may be because like us, they are on two legs and have expressive gestures.”
14. and 15. Drawings with Quills #1 and #2, 2019 (lots 115 and 116)
With the astronomical popularity of his children’s book illustrations, it’s easy to overlook just how technically adept and stylistically experimental Sir Quentin is. These works demonstrate his ongoing practice as a figurative artist – all the more remarkable as he never works from life or from photographs.
“All of my characters are imagined on the page,” he says. “As I draw them I feel I come to know them and understand what they should look like. Then I can draw them again and again.”
16. Chance Encounters, 2018 (lot 133)
This drawing is from another book in the QB Papers series, a catalogue of drawings of all sorts of serendipitous meetings.
“I enjoy drawing mountains and rocky landscapes, especially with people riding through them on eccentric vehicles,” he says, “and so of course it’s natural that some of them should meet. (Not always at the most convenient place or moment)… Some of the things I most enjoy drawing are gestures and expressions remembered from everyday life. The spectator is very welcome to imagine what it is these people are saying to each other.”
17. and 18. Scenes at Twilight #1, 2018 (lots 135 and 136)
These two atmospheric watercolours are from another book in the QB Papers series showing people and animals at twilight.
19. The Dancing Frog, 2019 (lot 185)
This gravity-defying amphibian is a reappearance of the eponymous protagonist of The Story of the Dancing Frog from 1984, both written and illustrated by Sir Quentin.
“Years ago I gave a lecture in which I wanted to make a point about the difference between straightforward drawing and what might happen in an illustration,” he says. “The consequent dancing frog stayed with me until I needed him.”
20. Breakfast Time, 2019 (lot 189)
You can practically hear the buzzing sound as the spoon approaches the delighted baby in this illustration.
Visit Quentin Blake: 200 Drawings now to see the rest of the artworks under auction.