The House of Illustration in King’s Cross is a great place. Wander around, gawp at nice drawings and round off the whole thing with a trip to the big Waitrose that has a wine bar in it. What’s not to like? Its one drawback is that, perhaps, it’s a bit on the small side.
Well, the London gallery gods have heard your one criticism. Have they ever? The House of Illustration is packing up, changing its name to the Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration, and moving down the road to leafy Islington. Its new digs are huge: a site featuring four eighteenth- and nineteenth-century industrial buildings, including the capital’s one surviving windmill. The result (which is going to cost £8m) will be the largest art space in the world dedicated to illustration. Take that Kyoto Museum of Manga, you pathetic worm.
Quentin Blake said that he was ‘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’.
The King’s Cross site closed in March, due to lockdown. Redevelopment of the new venue will begin in June 2021, with a tentative opening date of Autumn 2022.