Quentin Blake’s Roald Dahl “Portrait” Exhibition opens at British Library, Harry Potter news

Marking the phizz-whizzing anniversary of Ronald Dahl’s birth earlier this year, artist Sir Quentin Blake has drawn special portraits of some of the author’s most celebrated characters from Dahl’s stories, now on display at the British Library.

Find out which filthsome couple declined to appear together and which character quietly disapproved of the whole business in Quentin Blake: The Roald Dahl Centenary Portraits (2nd December 2016 – 21st May 2017).

The series of portraits produced by Sir Quentin Blake feature in the Library’s new small exhibition space, the Second Floor Gallery, which is free to view.

The portraits are of Roald Dahl’s most celebrated fictional characters, including Matilda, Charlie Bucket and the BFG, and the premise is that all the characters have been invited to sit for their portrait. These pictures were not commissioned and are an initiative of Sir Quentin’s own.

“The Roald Dahl Centenary Portraits ask you to imagine that a number of Dahl’s characters have been invited to come and sit for their portrait,” Sir Quentin Blake says. “They are depicted, not quite as they appear in the illustrations, but more formally.

“The perceptive spectator may notice that one celebrated couple declined to appear together, and another formidable personality obviously disapproved of the whole venture,” he continues.

“Nevertheless, I hope visitors to the British Library will be happy to see this group of well-known characters treated as though they were real people – which, of course, to many of us they are.”

In related children’s book exhibition news, the Library has also announced the title of its upcoming Harry Potter exhibition, which was announced in partnership with Bloomsbury earlier this year.

Harry Potter: A History of Magic will open 20th October 2017 and run until 28th February 2018, and will showcase a fascinating display of wizarding books, manuscripts and magical objects, and combine centuries-old British Library treasures with original material from Bloomsbury’s and J.K. Rowling’s own archives.

The structure of the exhibition has been inspired by the subjects that Harry and his friends study at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, from Potions and Herbology, to Astronomy and Care of Magical Creatures, and will explore the rich magic traditions that they draw on.

The Library has already offered a “sneak peek” of a selection of British Library medieval manuscripts and early printed books that will feature in the Care of Magical Creatures section of the exhibition, depicting magical creatures which inspired characters that all fans of the books will recognise, such as Fawkes the Phoenix or Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback.

Quentin Blake: The Roald Dahl Centenary Portraits runs until 21st May 2017. Admission free, Second Floor Gallery, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB Opening Times here

• More information about the Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition will be released throughout 2017, and tickets will be on sale from Monday 3rd April 2017 at www.bl.uk

• Sir Quentin Blake official site: www.quentinblake.com

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