A Home for Illustration

I love a well-illustrated book.

Judging from the prices that well-illustrated books often fetch at auction, I am not alone.

Is it not curious, then, that there are so few museums devoted to the art of illustration? Sure, lots of museums mount the occasional exhibition, but you can count on one hand the museums that are devoted specifically and exclusively to the art of illustration. There's the National Museum of American Illustration (Newport, RI). There's the Museum of American Illustration affiliated with the Society of Illustrators (New York City). There's the Norman Rockwell Museum (Stockbridge, MA). There's The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (Amherst, MA). And coming in 2012 ... finally! ... the House of Illustration in London.

Did I overlook any...?

I am particularly excited about the upcoming debut of London's House of Illustration. Given the storied history of illustration in the British Isles--think Bewick, Gill, Rackham--it is difficult to fathom why such a museum is only now being realized. The brainchild of Quentin Blake, the illustrator most closely associated with the works of Roald Dahl, the House of Illustration is slated to occupy a 12,000 square foot Victorian building known as Regeneration House (part of an extensive brownfield reclamation project in the King's Cross area of London).

Blake (appointed Great Britain's first Children's Laureate in 1999) conceived the idea back in 2002, and the concept has since attracted the enthusiastic support of a wide range of arts activists. All types of illustration will be collected and exhibited--whether it has appeared in books or magazines or newspapers, comics or graphic novels or advertising.

The founding collection will be Blake's own collection of the illustration work he has done over the past six decades. This includes, in addition to his numerous commissions for magazines and posters, the finished illustrations for over 250 books.

If you collect illustrated books and would like to help this project along, click here to volunteer or make a donation....