After graduating (with a First) from the Royal College of Art in 1956, Blake was awarded a Leverhulme Research Award to study popular art in locations of his choosing around Europe. Previously, only academics were in the running for the award. Blake was one of the first to be given one as a practitioner. At first Blake travelled alone, starting in Rotterdam (with friends on holiday), Amsterdam and The Hague, and working his way through Antwerp and Brussels to Paris.
(see M. Livingstone, Peter Blake One Man Show, London, 2009, pp. 37-40)