Visual Art | August 2020 | Alex Johnson

Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration Slated to Open in 2022

Credit: Tim Ronalds Architects

Artist’s impression of a gallery at the forthcoming Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration designed by Tim Ronalds Architects.

Currently closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, the House of Illustration has shuttered its rented space at Granary Square in London’s King’s Cross neighborhood and will reopen in autumn 2022 at a new location across the city when it will morph into the world’s largest public arts space dedicated to illustration: the Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration.

Redevelopment work repurposing four eighteenth- and nineteenth-century industrial buildings by Tim Ronalds Architects is due to start in June next year at the Centre’s new permanent home at New River Head in Islington.

The new complex will contain larger exhibition galleries, an education hub, event spaces, a shop and café, as well as illustrator Quentin Blake’s personal archive of 40,000 items. More than £3 million of the £8 million needed to finance the move has already been raised including £1 million from the Architectural Heritage Fund through its Heritage Impact Fund. Donations, grants, and a public fundraising campaign will provide extra financial support.

“We are thrilled to be embarking on a project that will secure a permanent and much-needed public centre for illustration and graphics in the UK and a home for Sir Quentin’s archive,” said Olivia Ahmad, artistic director of House of Illustration. “We look forward to expanding and developing our pioneering work that explores the importance of graphic art in our lives, supports emerging creators and empowers people of all ages to use visual communication.”

Blake added, “I am enormously proud to have my name associated with this international home for an art which I know and love, and for artists who speak in a myriad of visual languages, but are understood by all. It is going to be amazing.”

During its closure, the Centre will mount online exhibitions and continue with its program of education events.