Illustrator Quentin Blake holds auction for ‘overlooked’ art

British illustrator Quentin Blake presented Thursday the 33 first editions of classic books, with jackets specially created by leading artists, which will be auctioned to benefit London's House of Illustration museum, which he founded.

Blake, who has created art for more than 250 books, including all of Roald Dahl's work, told AFP at a preview for the Sotheby's auction on Monday that illustration was "an aspect of art which is overlooked".

The books include an original edition of "Through the Looking-Glass" by Lewis Carroll illustrated by Peter Blake, a pioneer of the Pop Art movement who created the cover of the Beatles album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band".

Other artists involved in the project are Axel Scheffler, who is best known for illustrations of "The Gruffalo", and British cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, who worked for 50 years for The Sunday Times.

The works chosen by the artists include Kafka's "Metamorphosis", J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye" and Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book".

Blake, who studied literature at university, illustrated an original edition of Victor Hugo's "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame".

"It is a fascinating book. More exciting than I expected in fact because Hugo had very good ideas about mediaeval and the modern and it's really what this book is about," he said.

Blake also donated a watercolour for the sale which he created for "The Tale of Kitty-In-Boots", a story by British children's author Beatrix Potter which was published for the first time last year.

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