Quentin Blake: 40 Women for Downing

The exhibition has been extended until 16 May 2021.

2 OCTOBER 2020 – 16 MAY 2021

When Quentin Blake came up to Downing College to read English in 1953, it had been only five years since women had been awarded degrees at the University of Cambridge. All Cambridge Colleges were single-sex, with only two Colleges for women.

In 1980, the first batch of female undergraduates took their places at Downing College, and, by 1988, all the historically all-male colleges began to accept women as full members. In his exclusive series of drawings, 40 Women for Downing, Quentin Blake presents an imaginary portrait of a female student to mark each year of 40 years of women at Downing College.

The exhibition 40 Women for Downing also includes a new series of drawings called Wayward Locks and Matilda at 30, a series of drawings imagining the iconic Roald Dahl heroine in eight different professions. The exhibition invites viewers to celebrate the strides women have taken in their quest for equality and the pursuit of knowledge and fulfilment.

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Opening Hours

Wednesday to Sunday: 12pm - 5pm

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Press Pack

Download the '40 Women for Downing' full press pack here. For further enquiries, email gallery@dow.cam.ac.uk.


All images © Quentin Blake, 2020. Images courtesy Quentin Blake.