Beatles' artist Sir Peter Blake exhibits Dylan Thomas work

Scene from Under Milk Wood The exhibition is named Llareggub after the fictional town in Under Milk Wood

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Unseen art inspired by Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood by the pop artist Sir Peter Blake is to be exhibited for the first time.

Sir Peter, best known for co-creating the sleeve for The Beatles' album Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, will see his work displayed at the National Museum Cardiff.

The showcase will launch the year-long Dylan Thomas 100 festival, which marks the centenary of the writer's birth.

The exhibition opens in November.

Entitled Llareggub: Peter Blake illustrates Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood, the show will feature more than 200 watercolours, collages and drawings.

The artist named the exhibition after Thomas's sleepy fictional town in the 1953 play.

Sir Peter has been a long-time admirer of the poet, who is one of the many celebrities whose faces appear in the famous Sgt Pepper collage.

The artist remembers hearing Under Milk Wood on the radio.

He said: "I still love it and still play a recording of it at least twice a week. I get new things [inspiration] all the time, even now."

Watercolour dreams

The display includes portraits drawn in black and white pencil on tinted paper, watercolours illustrating the dream sequences in the play, and a collage of narratives and locations, along with photographs Sir Peter took in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, in the 1970s.

The artist said: "I've been working on this collection of illustrations for a long time, about 25 years I think, so it's great that it's going to be displayed at National Museum Cardiff for visitors to see.

Captain Cat Captain Cat, one of the characters from Under Milk Wood, collage on paper

"I think the works will fit in wonderfully in the gallery at National Museum Cardiff particularly as there are two important portraits of Dylan Thomas in the collection and I'm very happy that this will be part of the Dylan Thomas centenary celebrations."

Oliver Fairclough, keeper of art at the National Museum Wales, said it was "a privilege" to exhibit the work.

"The exhibition will be a ground-breaking, experimental show of the highest quality that combines unique visual images with the spoken word," he said.

"Blake has a fascinating history of working with museums and of inspiring audiences and I'm sure this exceptional exhibition will have a major impact on new and existing visitors to the museum."

The Dylan Thomas 100 festival is funded by the Welsh government, the Arts Council of Wales, and Swansea, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion councils.

The year-long festival will take place in 2014 and will include theatre performances, visual arts, comedy, television, film and exhibitions held across Wales.

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