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The BFG in Pictures at Durham's Gala Gallery

Published April 11, 2022 9.24am

Previously unseen illustrations of Roald Dahl's The BFG go on display at Durham's Gala Gallery this week.


Cover artwork for 'The BFG' (Jonathan Cape, 1982) © Quentin Blake

Forty years after the book was first published, The BFG in Pictures features 40 reproductions of Quentin Blake's illustrations for the much-loved children's classic.  

The free exhibition from House of Illustration offers families a fascinating glimpse into a BFG that might have been and charts the development of one of the most iconic characters in children's literature.

Extraordinary person

Curated by Quentin Blake himself, the reproductions include illustrations not used when the book was published, alongside its final illustrations, to provide an insight into the collaboration between author and illustrator.

Quentin Blake said: "Roald Dahl and I were brought together by our publisher in the 1970s. Roald was an extraordinarily interesting person and a man of action, which is why he was so good at telling stories. He liked to tell stories about things happening, rather than about what people were thinking or feeling, which was wonderful for me to draw.

"Roald's The BFG was first published by Jonathan Cape in 1982 in a hardback edition for which I did black-and-white illustrations and a design in colour for the cover. Since then, the BFG and Sophie have appeared in a variety of books and situations.

"For this exhibition I have selected images from different versions of the BFG, starting with my first illustrations which remained unpublished for 30 years."

Unseen illustrations

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, our Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: "We are really pleased to be able to welcome The BFG in Pictures to Gala Gallery. After all, the BFG is such a wonderful story that is much loved by so many families around the world.

"The exhibition offers a fantastic opportunity to look at some unseen illustrations and fall in love with the story all over again. It also helps to engage children with the fabulous art of storytelling and inspire a love of the arts. Increasing access to culture is a key aspect of our bid to be named UK City of Culture 2025 and we look forward to developing even more opportunities for residents of all ages as part of our bid."

Further information 

The exhibition will be on display at Gala Gallery from Saturday (16 April) until Saturday, 25 June.

A family illustration workshop with artist Liz Million will also take place on Saturday 11 June. This can be booked via the Gala Box Office from Saturday, 16 April. For more information on booking a ticket, visit the Gala Durham website.