World-famous illustrator announced as first artist Patron of Hastings gallery

Sir Quentin Blake with Jerwood Gallery director Liz Gilmore
Sir Quentin Blake with Jerwood Gallery director Liz Gilmore

Sir Quentin Blake has become the first artist Patron at Jerwood gallery, it was announced this week.

The gallery first opened to the public in 2012 and Sir Quentin has been a high-profile supporter from the start. Since the opening, he has exhibited four times in the gallery.

Jerwood Gallery director, Liz Gilmore, said: “Quentin will bring a number of qualities to the role. These include insight, integrity, creative inspiration and a keen understanding of Hastings. Not only these but he exemplifies a sense of heritage, in terms of his background as a world-renowned illustrator and artist but also his close ties with the town.

“His appeal is almost universal, as successive generations have grown up with his work or are familiar with his illustrations for the likes of Michael Rosen, Roald Dahl and David Walliams. His popularity and sheer accessibility makes him an almost unique route into art, with his work creating a natural transition from popular to fine art.”

Sir Quentin’s first act in his new role was to announce that children accompanying adults to the gallery will enjoy free entry from Friday, March 30. The scheme allows up to four children to go free with any adult ticket.

Sir Quentin said: “It’s wonderful to be able to cement my relationship with the gallery by becoming a Patron. Collaborating with the Jerwood has opened up for me possibilities in my work that I would not have discovered without the encouragement of Liz Gilmore and her colleagues.

“Their expectations have prompted me to explore new approaches and enabled me to touch on new themes – migration, mental health, and other aspects of our lives – in the knowledge that the results will find themselves sympathetically shown in this extraordinary gallery.

“They are truly pictures for Jerwood Gallery.”

In 2013, Blake was knighted for services to illustration, and also achieved the French decoration named ‘Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur.’ 

From April 2018 the gallery will receive public funding for the first time through Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations and support from Hastings Borough Council.

Written by Martyn Greenstreet.