THE work of the nation’s best-loved children’s artists has arrived at National Trust property Mottisfont this summer.

New exhibition Quentin Blake and Friends includes pieces by Blake in addition to work by leading contemporary children’s illustrators including Helen Oxenbury and Michael Foreman.

Visitors will be able to see, for the first time, 21 new drawings made by Quentin for the hit West End production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, full of his usual wit and sharp-eyed observations.

Quentin Blake is internationally famous, known both for his own books and for his collaborations with other authors, most famously Roald Dahl. He taught illustration for more than 20 years at the Royal College of Art.

In more recent years, he has curated exhibitions in major museums and has made larger-scale works for hospitals and healthcare settings. His books and illustrations have won awards all over the world.

The original drawings and watercolours in the show have all been lent by the Chris Beetles Gallery in London, and all of these unique works are for sale.

The gallery is also lending stunning watercolour illustrations by artists including Michael Foreman, Emma Chichester Clark, John Burningham, Helen Oxenbury, Rebecca Cobb and Oliver Jeffers. The stories illustrated range from classics such as Treasure Island, Alice in Wonderland and classic fairy tales to works by Terry Jones and Michael Morpurgo.

Visiting families can take inspiration from the exhibition and set off on an epic imaginative story trail around the house and grounds, creating their own illustrated books as they go.

On special event weekends in August there are lots of additional hands-on activities; you might even get some tips from Quentin Blake himself, and meet some of the other authors.

Make nature-themed books, and enjoy storytelling, performance, and on the final weekend, storytellers from the Roald Dahl Museum. Special event weekends are on 2/3, 16/17, and 30/31 August.

Quentin Blake and Friends runs every day until September 14, 10am to 5pm. Normal admission charge only.