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Quentin Blake reunited with Royal College of Art students

Illustrator hires gallery for special exhibition in Windmill Street

05 October, 2018 — By Dan Carrier

Quentin Blake with his former art students 

SIR Quentin, known for his own children’s books and his collaborations with Roald Dahl, taught at the Royal College of Art in the early 1980s – and has kept in touch with many of the students who he inspired to forge careers of their own in the art world.

Mr Blake told Extra: “It’s a long time since I taught at the Royal College of Art but I remember the ’81 people as being a most interesting year.

“When I got in touch with them again through Linda Kitson I thought that if I hired the Framers Gallery for them it would give me a wonderful opportunity to see what they had all been up to and perhaps prompt them to do some work specially for the occasion. I am delighted to say it worked a treat.”

Artist Gill Bradley was tutored by Sir Quentin and is one of seven post- graduate pupils who have come together to create the exhibition, called 81:18, which the illustrator has paid for the hire of the gallery space to host it.

Speaking after a launch event on Tuesday, Ms Bradley said: “He was Pleased to see the work hanging. He came early and had a look round before the show opened and he said the thought it was a beautiful show that exceeded expectations.”

She recalled being taught by the artist at RCA as she embarked on a post-graduate degree.

She said: “He was already quite well known. It was a memorable time for all of us and we were a very sociable and close group. We have all stayed in touch for the rest of our lives. We all went off and did different things, but all in artistic spheres.”

The group had been to Sir Quentin’s House Of Illustration in King’s Cross when the idea for a show began to grow. Ms Bradley spoke with fellow former student Linda

Kitson, who was the official war artist during the Falklands Conflict and has taught at a number of prestigious colleges, and sir Quentin about the possibility of a show.

She added: “We were speaking and saying how good it would be to get back into was to get back into creating art, and she mentioned it to Quentin.

“He said: let’s do this, and hired the gallery. It’s incredibly generous of Quentin. He was such an inspiring and insightful tutor.”

l 81:18 exhibition is at The Framers Gallery, 36, Windmill Street, W1T 2JT, 020 7580 4878, www.theframers gallery.co.uk/exhibitions

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