Wednesday, November 19, 2014

POW pt.5

A drawing from Searle's time incarcerated by the Japanese during WWII has popped up here on eBay. It's expensive but appears to be authentic. This will probably go to a private collector but should really be in the Imperial War Museum with the collection of Searle's POW sketches.

The V&A museum, London dug up some early Searle history. His sketch of a prisoner production of 'Hamlet' with the artist appearing as the ghost! Link here
The prisoners would stage plays and comedy revue shows to buoy their spirits. Searle drew programmes- only one or two copies each- that were disseminated around thousands of hands.

More on Searle's wartime experience here

Saturday, November 08, 2014

John Bull magazine

'John Bull' magazine was a similar publication to 'The Strand' and 'Lilliput'.

'The magazine was published by Odhams from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. Similar in style to the iconic American magazine The Saturday Evening Post, the John Bull covers encapsulated post-war Britain and employed some of Britain's finest illustrators.' - Wikipedia

Illustrations in the magazine John Bull in 1947 & 1948

March 20th 1948. Jockey scene cover. 20 pages.

April 9th 1949

"One for All, All for One" by Herbert Hodge illustrated with a Ronald Searle cartoon

April 24th 1948 "Oh to be a Salesman" by Herbert Hodge with an illustration by Ronald Searle

April 30th 1949. "Peak Season for Love" by Herbert Hodge with an illustration by Ronald Searle

November 12th 1949. 32 pages. b/w Ronald Searle advert for Bev coffee essence with a Fireman theme

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


'Granta' is the student magazine of Cambridge University, England. It is named after the river that runs through the city. Founded in 1889 it has featured the work of countless writers and artists over the years including Searle.

A later illustration from the 1970s.

I'd love to get hold of a copy of this one- anyone got a collection of these mags?

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Housewife magazine

More early work. Searle not only cornered the men's magazine market but also 'Housewife' magazine.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Early Searle

I'm slowly piecing together Ronald's early, post-war career after he was liberated from captivity by the Japanese and returned to England. Even in the prison camp he maintained a tiny notebook with miniscule thumbnail ideas for cartoons in the belief that survival would mean resuming his career as a cartoonist which had started  to take off just as he enlisted.

This is one of the earliest examples I've found of his cartoons published in Punch magazine. He was twenty seven years old at this point and eager to make an impression in the London magazine cartooning field.

Punch March 5 1947 Vol CCXII 5539

That same month the venerable compendium of contemporary satire published another cartoon

Punch March 26 1947 Vol CCXII 5542

In this newspaper clipping from 1948 we see Searle's early work already making an impression on the Continent.

The following I unearthed in the vaults of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

December 1947

For more early Searle also see Lilliput pt.1  and London Opinion and The Strand

Saturday, August 30, 2014

For The Birds

Searle may be famous for his cats and to a lesser degree his dogs but he was also partial to drawing birds. He even depicted the eponymous avian mascot of Penguin books wearing a mask with the likeness of the artist. Perhaps he identified with this flightless and somewhat hopeless creature?

'The Outsider' 1977
Karikatur Museum, Krems

'The Clown' Uncorrected color lithographic proof on wove paper, 1970s. Published by Michel Cassé for Editions RS, Paris. Regular edition 99.

'The Stranger' Uncorrected color lithographic proof on wove paper, 1970s. Published by Michel Cassé for Editions RS, Paris.


'Perpetual Motion'

'Mozarteen Birds' 1988
From Attempted Bloggery

'The Flight' 
Uncorrected color lithographic proof on wove paper, 1978. Published by Michel Cassé, Paris. Titled in pencil by the artist and notated “!st Colour Proof, Rec’d 22 July ‘78”. Regular edition 99.

Unpublished 'New Yorker' cover

'Owls' from the Wilhelm Busch Museum fir Karikatur, Hanover. If I remember correctly the owl represents Searle's second wife, Monica.

'Punch' cover 9th May,1962