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

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Research help

On the Searle trail: I'm trying to trace the family of Prof. Robert H Butman who taught at Haverford College between the mid 50s to the 1980s. I found his obituary with family members but I'm stuck there unable to find them. Anybody experienced at tracking descendants? I'm hoping to find his son Christopher John James Butman.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lilliput pt.1

Lilliput magazine was a popular, pocket sized magazine of the 1940s-50s. Searle's work for the magazine fell into two styles; the broad cartoons of St. Trinians and the Patrick Campbell series; and more naturalistic illustrations accompanying short stories.

'Life in the Studio' 1946

These two studies are in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
Two sketches for 'Artist & Model' a cartoon for Lilliput magazine. Searle thoroughly explored the composition and forms of his figures before working up the final drawing. It looks like the first one was almost final then abandoned?

The same here: a study and a more worked up final but I'm not aware of them seeing publication in Lilliput.

October 1946
'"GIRLS, GIRLS! - A LITTLE LESS NOISE, PLEASE"' Lilliput, October 1946.
 Hurrah for St. Trinian's, London, 1948. 

January 1947 
Lilliput, January 1947.
Hurrah for St. Trinian's, London, 1948, p. 57. 

March 1947

'The Place Where it Happened'
A Report by Honor Tracy
Lilliput magazine May 1949

'The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag'
A Short Story byJim Corbett
Lilliput magazine April-May 1951

'All Correct, Sir
A Short Story by Bill Naughton
Lilliput magazine May-June 1951

'Maisie was a Lady
A Short Story by Paul Vincent Carroll
Lilliput magazine June-July 1951

'Honesty's A Jewel'
A Short Story by Roderick Milton
Lilliput magazine Nov-Dec 1951

Searle only illustrated two covers for the magazine as far as I know.

Many of Searle's contemporaries worked for the magazine too; James Fitton, Anton, Walter Trier, Gerald Hoffnung et al. and it was well known as a compendium of the best of British illustration in the 1950s. Even the Disney animators were familiar with it and an hommage found its way into 'One Hundred & One Dalmations' (1961), perhaps a tacit admission from a film which stylized its art direction directly after Searle's work.

Searle's artwork was so ubiquitous during this era that even in an issue absent of Searle's editorial illustrations there would still be advertisements illustrated by him.

See my Lilliput blog for more. . .