First Editions Re-Covered in aid of House of Illustration

First Editions Re-Covered in aid of House of Illustration

This December, Sotheby’s London will be auctioning 33 classic books, each of them with an original dust-jacket created by a renowned artist. Artists taking part in First Editions Re-Covered include Maggi Hambling, Sir Quentin Blake, Raymond Pettibon and Peter Blake.

They’re being sold to raise funds for House of Illustration, which is a registered charity working with schools throughout London to help inspire creativity in young people regardless of barriers like language, special educational needs or literacy. They are also the world’s only public gallery devoted purely to illustration and the graphic arts, holding regular talks and exhibitions.

House of Illustration was founded by Quentin Blake, one of the artists creating an exclusive first edition for the auction. Each participating artist was asked to pick a book they felt had a strong personal connection, and then create their own dust-jacket or artwork for it. Peter Blake chose ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’, while soon-to-be ex-Doctor Who and sweary political adviser actor Peter Capaldi chose Franz Kafka’s ‘Metamorphosis’ because he found ‘the story so powerful, the imagery unforgettable, and the sadness at its heart completely human’. And fashion artist David Downton chose Dr No by Ian Fleming ‘not for the book, but for the chance to draw Ursula Andress, my idol since I was a teenager.” 

Quentin Blake has also included a very rare piece of original artwork he created for Beatrice Potter’s ‘The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots’ in the auction.

Colin MacKenzie, Director of House of Illustration has been amazed by the support the charity has received from the artistic community: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the incredible generosity of such an amazing collection of artists and it’s been particularly fascinating to see the books they’ve chosen as there’s a story behind each one.”

You can find out about some of those stories for yourself as all the works will be on show at Sotheby’s London in New Bond Street from 8-11 December 2017, And if you fancy owning a unique piece of art by one of the 31 artists involved, the auction itself will take place on the evening of 11 December.