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Drawing - Illustration for the cover of 'Typically Jennings'
  • Illustration for the cover of 'Typically Jennings'
    Blake, Quentin
  • Enlarge image

Illustration for the cover of 'Typically Jennings'

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1969 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Blake, Quentin (draftsman)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink and watercolour

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Eileen Buckeridge

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case I, shelf 105

This watercolour by Quentin Blake is a proposed cover illustration for the book “Typically Jennings” from 1969. In the foreground the title character Jennings is shown in red shorts, accompanied by his friend Darbyshire, outside a cave. The sketchy landscape suggests the coastal setting of the South Downs. Similarly, Blake has captured the mischievous character of the two boys by showing Darbyshire covered in paint and Jennings exiting the cave covered in mud, while both boys smile at the audience cheekily. This style of illustration differs from that used in earlier publications of the Jennings books, which used a more naturalistic convention rather than a self-consciously child-like cartoon style, as Blake has done here. The proposed cover design coincided with Blake making illustrations for the Jackanory broadcast of “Thanks to Jennings” in 1969. This design was rejected by the publishers on the grounds of its style not being considered appropriate.

“Typically Jennings” comes from a series of 25 Jennings books which Anthony Buckeridge (1912-2004) wrote between 1950 and 1994. These humorous children’s books were set in a post world war two boys boarding school. The humour of the books draws on the combination of this setting with the misunderstandings resulting in the actions of by the impulsive Jennings his more cautious best friend, Darbyshire. While embracing the contrasting characters of Jennings and Darbyshire this illustration successfully suggests that mishap is never far away from these two characters when they are together.

Physical description

Four little boys playing in an open field.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1969 (made)


Blake, Quentin (draftsman)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink and watercolour


Height: 31.7 cm, Width: 26.8 cm

Descriptive line

Illustration for the BBC Jackanory edition of Jennings, Quentin Blake, England, 1969


Pen; Watercolour


Illustration; Books; Children & Childhood


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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