Quentin Blake celebrates wonders of wetlands

Image: Quentin Blake 2023

The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust has announced a year-long partnership with renowned illustrator Sir Quentin Blake which celebrates water, wildlife and plants.

Drawn to Water: Quentin Blake at WWT will include an exhibition of wetland-themed prints from the illustrator's personal archive. Four of the UK charity’s sites will host the display of 54 prints, which provide a unique glimpse into Quentin’s view of wetlands.

"This project appealed because I have a lifelong fascination of drawing wetland wildlife. The drawings are from my archive and many have rarely been seen in public before."

Quentin Blake

Commenting on the partnership, the illustrator 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.”

In addition to the exhibition, each of WWT’s 10 sites will run seasonal trails using selected illustrations to encourage visitors to view wetland nature in a different way. Each of the trails will highlight the natural spectacles of the season, showcasing new life, sparkling water, migrant birds and other annual wetland phenomena.

Cath Cooke, head of experience and engagement at WWT, said, “We’re so excited to begin this partnership with Quentin Blake, and to share his passion for the beauty and wonder of the natural world with our visitors.

“Quentin’s illustrations bring our wetlands to life beautifully and whether you are brand new to wetlands or have appreciated them for years, Drawn to Water will help you see them in new and exciting ways.”

Drawn to Water: Quentin Blake at WWT runs from 18 May 2023 across all WWT sites. The exhibition will be held at four sites: London Wetland Centre, Slimbridge, Martin Mere and Castle Espie.