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Rakewell

Matilda at 30 – still top of the class and now standing up to Donald Trump

2 October 2018

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories

What a week for fans of Roald Dahl’s Matilda. In London, Quentin Blake, who memorably illustrated many of the author’s classic children’s books, has just revealed a new series of drawings that reimagine its much-loved protagonist, Matilda Wormwood, as an adult.

Celebrating three decades since the book’s first publication, the new drawings variously depict their subject as the Poet Laureate, an astrophysicist, a special effects artist, a ‘world traveller’, and CEO of the British Library.

Matilda Wormwood as an astrophysicist, as imagined by Quentin Blake

Matilda Wormwood as an astrophysicist, as imagined by Quentin Blake

Blake’s drawings aren’t the only new works of art marking the anniversary. In the Buckinghamshire village of Great Missenden, where Dahl lived for many years, a sculptural tribute to Matilda has been unveiled. The piece depicts a school-age likeness of the book’s clever-clogs heroine facing off against – who else? – Donald Trump.

While one might more reasonably expect to see Matilda paired off with Miss Trunchbull, her sadistic headmistress, the British public apparently thought otherwise. The Roald Dahl Story Company, which commissioned the work, conducted a survey to find out who Matilda would be standing up to were she heading off to her lessons today.

According to the Independent, respondents voted overwhelmingly in favour of Trump. Other nominees reportedly included Piers Morgan and Theresa May – who, in Tory conference week, must be delighted to know that she garnered just 21 per cent of the votes…

Got a story for Rakewell? Get in touch at rakewell@apollomag.com or via @Rakewelltweets.

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