A series of over 170 watercolours, collages and drawings by Sir Peter Blake illustrating Dylan Thomas's landmark 1953 ‘play for voices’, Under Milk Wood, is to be exhibited by Waddington Custot this summer, in a new, dedicated exhibition space opposite the main gallery at 22 Cork Street, London. The series has never before been shown outside of Wales, and this exhibition debuts a number of new works shown for the first time, as Blake has continued to work on the series. Under Milk Wood will open as Blake celebrates his 90th birthday.Illustrating Under Milk Wood is a project that Blake has been working on for over 40 years. The artist first heard the play as a student at the Royal College of Art, when it was broadcast on the radio in 1954, but his idea to create a series of illustrations based on the piece was conceived a quarter of a century later in 1979, when he was given a recording to listen to in the studio as he worked. Blake returned to, and abandoned, the project multiple times until the 1990s, before embarking on the series in earnest: "As soon as I decided to illustrate Under Milk Wood, I researched it, read it and listened to it again and again. I still play it a couple of times a week and read it once a month. I've always treated it as a separate piece of work. I work on Under Milk Wood at home in the evening. It's almost like a 'separate me' doing it."
As Jules says in Pulp Fiction, "Oh, man ! I'm goin'. That's all there is to it. I'm fxxkin' goin'."