The original idea for the exhibition, curated by Quentin Blake, was taken from a Victorian parlour game in which you draw pictures of your favourite things to create a cryptic self-portrait. For this exhibition, 45 people in the public eye were asked to illustrate eight favourite things from a list of twelve, in order to create a self-portrait.
Contributors were asked about their favourite animal, book, clothes, comfort, food, pastime, place, possession, music, shoes, weather and their pet aversion (the thing they love to hate!). The contributors to the exhibition were all selected for having the skills to express themselves visually, and were encouraged to use whatever medium they most enjoy. Among the famous people whose work appears in the exhibition are: Andrew Marr, Anna Ford, Brian Eno, Eric Clapton, Eric Carle, Jack Penate, Jan Pienkowski, Sir Paul Smith and Shirley Hughes.
The resulting works are diverse in style: from Quentin Blake’s instantly recognisable pen and ink drawings of people and Shirley Hughes’ enchanting watercolours to Lauren Child’s unique combination of text, drawing and collage and a series of polaroid photographs by portrait and fashion photographer Mary McCartney.
The exhibition is running at Manchester Art Gallery from 4th July to 31st August and at Wingfield Barns in Suffolk from 4th to 30th September.
For more details, including opening hours please visit