Quentin Blake art draws people to WWT Castle Espie

Reimagine the wonder of wetlands and nature through the eyes of the UK’s best loved illustrator – Quentin Blake at WWT Castle Espie from 18 May until February 2024, as part of a partnership Drawn to Water: Quentin Blake at WWT between renowned illustrator Sir Quentin Blake and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust.

Throughout the partnership WWT Castle Espie will run three seasonal trails with guides using selected, rarely seen in public, illustrations of watery nature from Quentin Blake to help inspire visitors to view the wonder of wetland nature in a different way. Collect the illustrated guides full of Quentin Blake’s drawings and journey around the wonderful wetland world this summer. New seasonal trails will be launched later in the year, each with a different illustrated guide to collect and keep.

Each of the trails, Spring/Summer, Autumn, and Winter, will highlight the amazing nature that arrives each season, showcasing new life, sparkling water and visiting birds, helping everyone experience nature in new, unexpected ways through Quentin Blake’s work.

These trails will run alongside a range of art and illustration activities to inspire all ages and abilities, helping everyone experience nature in new, unexpected ways. Including making your own binoculars using recycled cardboard and plastic materials from home, hear short stories and excerpts from Quentin Blake stories narrated by WWT Castle Espie Learning Manager John McCullough and his team. Plus take part in crafty competitions with lots of Quentin Blake goodies up for grabs including the chance to win a one-off, special edition Quentin Blake print.

WWT Castle Espie will also be among four WWT sites hosting an exhibition of some of Quentin Blake’s wetland-themed artworks from Oct – Feb (Exhibition 1 from 14th Oct - 8th Dec 2023 and Exhibition 2 from 6th Jan - 24th Feb 2024) with images on display using everything from pens, inks and washes to quills from the birds he has illustrated to help bring their subjects to life. The selection of 54 prints on display provide a unique glimpse into Quentin’s view of wetlands and of how we humans interact with their wildlife, plants and water. Both the exhibition and the seasonal trails will offer a chance to explore some of Quentin’s lesser-known work on a theme that has intrigued him throughout his life - birds.

Commenting on the partnership Quentin Blake said:

“I am delighted to be sharing my pictures with WWT sites and their visitors through the Drawn to Water experience. This project appealed to me because I have a lifelong fascination of drawing wetland wildlife, especially birds. I can't quite explain why but it may be because like us, they are on two legs and have expressive gestures. The drawings you will see are from my own personal archive, and many have rarely been seen in public before. Through Drawn to Water I hope that seeing my artwork in places where these creatures are thriving will allow new audiences to enjoy wetland wildlife as much as I do, perhaps prompting a few people to pick up a pen, pencil or even a quill and do their own drawing.”

Paul Stewart at WWT Castle Espie added:
“ We are very excited to launch the WWT partnership with Quentin Blake at WWT Castle Espie. This is a fantastic opportunity for visitors of all ages to reimagine and enjoy the magic and wonder of our beautiful place across all the seasons, and all with the help of this great illustrator. With lots of arts and illustration activities there will be something for everyone to enjoy.We are also delighted to be one of four WWT sites to host an exhibition of some of Quentin Blake’s wetland-themed artworks from September.Visitors can view the the prints on display in the Graffan Gallery and get a unique glimpse into his view of wetlands – this truly will be a very unique experience.”




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