Attractions industry news

26 Oct 2018

Science Museum unveils Quentin Blake science paintings

The Science Museum in London has opened a new exhibition of paintings by British illustrator Sir Quentin Blake that depict famous scientists and engineers and their inventions.

Blake, best known for his illustrations that brought Roald Dahl’s children’s stories to life, has painted objects and scientists represented in the museum’s mammoth collection.

Included in the collection, which is hung outside Wonderlab: The Equinor Gallery, are paintings of mathematician Ada Lovelace, environmental scientist James Lovelock and DNA pioneers Francis Crick and James Watson.

"Making drawings of real people from reference is rather different from depicting the characters in a story," Blake told BBC News.

"You are given visual information where you would normally expect to be interpreting someone's words.

"I think the advantage of these drawings is that they do in some sense make the scientists more informal and accessible to the newcomer."

His Lovelace depiction shows the mathematician and daughter of poet Lord Byron with Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine. She published the first algorithm for the mechanical computer and is widely recognised as the world’s first computer programmer.

Meanwhile, the Lovelock portrayal shows the scientist beside foliage and his Electron Capture Detector, which demonstrated the environmental danger of CFCs to the Earth.

In total, 20 people are depicted in the exhibition, which sits across five large works and is now open to the public.

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