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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Summer Exhibition of self-portraits

I wish I could make it to haute-Provence for this summer show of Ronald's self-portraits in the village where he lived. The town also unveiled a memorial plaque above the front (back? -I was never sure!) door of his home.  His daughter Kate was there to represent the Searle family.


It looks like the exhibition has self-portraits from across Ronald's whole life-a testament to how long he lived! I've gathered many of them in this section.





Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dragons

This cropped up on Twitter- E. Nesbit’s 'Book Of Dragons'. I'm unfamiliar with this book but it looks great and has been in print for a century! I'm not sure which edition features these wonderful Searle dragons but it looks like early Searle-perhaps late forties?



Friday, July 25, 2014

Menu

Restaurants and private clubs commissioned Searle to illustrate their menus, presumably to lend them an air of class or an ironic wink sending up their own stuffiness.

'Savage Club Ladies Night'
Published in Graphis #44 1952

Omar Khayyam Club menu 1955

Restaurant des Beaux Arts, St. Germaine, Paris
(see the post on the restaurant here)








Searle depicted the ceremonial entrance of the sommelier countless times over the years, skewering their pomp & circumstance with each drawing.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Fernandel

Searle and his first wife, Kaye Webb, met famous French vaudevillian Fernandel on their first trip to Paris. A portait dated 29th May 1950 appeared in their 'Paris Sketchbook'.

 In 1958 Searle would again capture the actor for Punch magazine's review column of Parisian Theatre

A card with a sketch by Searle and inscribed by Fernandel dated 30th October 1958


Punch theatre critic, Eric Keown, wrote 'Fernandel is fifty, his real name Fernand Desire Constandin.  He was born in Marseilles, where his father sang in cafes. . . At twenty he went to Paris to appear at a music-hall, and was discovered overnight.  Now he is the idol of France, and his vast, friendly smile warms the armies of his fans throughout Europe and America . . . His enormous brown eyes, of surpassing honesty, look right into you while he is talking.  He thinks before he speaks, and then speech is reinforced by a running commentary of natural mime.  He has beautiful hands.'

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Andre Francois

Searle was close to and admired the art of many of his contemporaries but none more so than Andre Francois. He even published a book on Francois' art through his Perpetua publishing house 'Andre Francois: The Biting Eye' (1960).  Searle visited the Romanian émigré at his studio in France and took a series of photographs of the artist and his studio home. I would place these photos around the early 1970s and I believe this is the studio that tragically burnt down towards the end of Francois' life.




















 In his ever meticulous manner Searle notes the top two pictures are close-ups of the bottom. He highlights the playful trompe-l'œil shelves.



Francois' style was generally less sophisticated than Searle's in terms of draughtsmanship but that was part of the success of his visual humour. Francois sometimes drew in a more intricate Searle style.

Conversely Searle's work in the 1960s approached the experimental nature of Francois', especially the expressionistic 'Anatomis & Decapitations' series and 'Baron Munchausen'.

Kate Searle, the artist's daughter, kept an autograph book as a child and collected signatures and doodles from her father's friends including this one by Francois.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Punch theatre pt.2

Searle made so many caricature drawings for Punch magazine's theatre review column I'm starting a second thread here, culled from my extensive but not quite comprehensive collection of Punch mags and clippings. I'll try to keep this in chronological order so we can observe his artistic development. Where possible I've included the relevant sketchbook images that Searle made 'on site' in the theatre.


1949


'The Return of Peter Grimm' August 31, 1949
Aldwych

'Faust' August 31, 1949
Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park


'Fading Mansion' September 14, 1949
Duchess

'Master of Arts' September 14, 1949
Strand

'Summer Day's Dream' September 21, 1949
St. Martin's

'Western Wind' September 21, 1949
Piccadilly

'Gooseberry Fool' October 26, 1949
Duchess

'She StoopsTo Conquer' October 26, 1949
New

'A Month In The Country' December 7, 1949
New

'Fallen Angels' December 7, 1949
Ambassadors

'Castle In The Air' December 28, 1949
Adelphi

'Murder At The Vicarage' December 28, 1949
Playhouse


1950


'Puss In Boots' January 4, 1950
Palladium


'Little Miss Muffet' January 4, 1950


'Dick Whittington' January 11, 1950
Princes

'The Silver Curlew' January 11, 1950
Arts


'Mr Gillie' March 29, 1950
Garrick

'Knights Of Madness' March 29, 1950
Victoria Palace

'Detective Story' April 5, 1950
Princes

'The Platinum Set' April 12, 1950
Saville

'KingHenry III' April 12, 1950
Stratford


'Much Ado About Nothing' June 21, 1950
Stratford-Upon-Avon

'Carousel' June 21, 1950
Drury Lane


'Heartbreak House' July 19, 1950
Arts

'Ace of Clubs' July 19, 1950
Cambridge


'Reluctant Heroes' September 22, 1950
Whitehall


'Who Goes There?' September 22, 1950
Theatre Royal, Windsor


Theatre Sketchbook November 1, 1950


Theatre Sketchbook November 22, 1950

Theatre Sketchbook November 29, 1950


1951


'The Martin's Nest' April 25, 1951
Westminster


'Shavings' April 25, 1951
St. Martin's


 'Hand In Glove' June 20, 1951
New Lindsey

'The Hollow Lady' June 20, 1951
The Fortune

'Shaw Festival' July 4,1951
Arts

'Come Live With Me' July 4,1951
Vaudeville

'The Tempest' July 11, 1951
Stratford-On-Avon

'Penny Plain'  July 11, 1951
St. Martin's


'The Clandestine Marriage' December 19, 1951
Old Vic

'The Great Adventure' December 19, 1951
The Arts


'The Day's Mischief' December 26, 1951
Duke of York's

'Colombe' December 26, 1951
New Theatre


'Anthony & Cleopatra' 1951

1952


'Indian Summer' January 2, 1952
Criterion

'Riquet With the Tuft' January 2, 1952
Players'


'Under The Sycamore Tree' May 7, 1952
Aldwych

'After My Fashion' May 21, 1952
Ambassadors


'The Voysey Inheritance' May 21, 1952
Arts


'Meet Mr. Callaghan' June 11, 1952
Garrick

'Timon of Athens' June 11, 1952
Old Vic



'LaCenerentola' July 2, 1952
Glyndebourne

'King Henry VI, Part 3' August 6, 1952
Old Vic


'Quadrille' September 24, 1952
Phoenix

'Macbeth' September 24, 1952
Mermaid


'Lord Arthur Savile's Crime' October 22, 1952
Royal Court

'Letter From Paris' October 22, 1952
Aldwych

1953


'Dick Whittington' January 7, 1953
Palladium


'Maria Marten' January 7, 1953
Arts


'Escapade' February 4, 1953
St. James's

'The Devil Came from Dublin' February 4, 1953
Embassy

'The Merchant Of Venice' April 1, 1953
Stratford


'Ecoutez Bien Messieurs' June 17, 1953
Winter Garden


1954


'A Midsummer Night's Dream' , 1954


'Can-Can' October 20, 1954

1955


'TheLark' 18May, 1955 Lyric Hammersmith

'Troilus & Cressida'  1955

1956
'Family Reunion' June 13, 1956
The Phoenix Theatre, London

'Giselle' October 10, 1956
Covent Garden, London


'Fanny' November 28, 1956
Drury lane

1957


'Nekrassov'  August 28, 1957
Royal Lyceum Theatre


'The Hidden King' August 28, 1957
Royal Lyceum Theatre

1958


'Bertram Mills Circus' January 1, 1958
Olympia


'Lysistrata' January 1, 1958

'Robinson Crusoe' January 8, 1958
London Palladium

'The Imperial Nightingale' January 22, 1958

'The Iceman Cometh' February 5, 1958

'The Potting Shed' 12 February, 1958
The Globe

'Keep Your Hair On!' 19 February, 1958

'Hunters Moon' March 5, 1958


'The Importance of Being Earnest' March 19, 1958
Cambridge A.D.C.

'Romeo & Juliet' April 16, 1958
Stratford

'Pericles' July 16, 1958

'King James the Fourth' August 13, 1958
Stratford-Upon-Avon

'Live Like Pigs' October 8, 1958
Royal Court, London

'West Side Story' December 24, 1958

'Cinderella' December 31, 1958
Coliseum, London

1959


'Sleeping Beauty' Jan 7, 1959

'Rose Tattoo' Jan 21, 1959

'The Woman On The Stair' Jan 28, 1959
Sketchbook image courtesy of Chris Beetles gallery, London


'Sgnarelle&Tartuffe' February 18, 1959


'Blue Magic' February 25, 1959
Prince of Wales


'Pieces Of Eight' September, 1959
Comedy review written by Harold Pinter & Peter Cook
Apollo Theatre, London

'Treasure Island' December 23, 1959

1960

'The Merry Wives of Windsor' January 6, 1960
Old Vic

'Babes In The Wood' January 13, 1960
Players'

'Hooray For Daisy' January 20, 1960
Theatre Royal, Bristol


'A Moon for the Misbegotten' January 27, 1960
Arts


'The Lily White Boys' February 10, 1960
Royal Court


'The Wrong Side of the Park' February 10, 1960
Cambridge

'Inherit The Wind' March 23, 1960
St. Martin's

'The Merchant of Venice' April 27, 1960
Stratford-Upon-Avon
Sketchbook image courtesy of Chris Beetles gallery, London

'Rhinoceros' May 4, 1960
Royal Court

'Over The Bridge' May 11, 1960
Princes

'Bachelor Flat' June 8, 1960
Piccadilly

'Candida' June 22, 1960
Piccadilly

'The Taming Of The Shrew' June 29, 1960
Stratford

'Troilus & Cressida' August 10, 1960
Stratford-Upon-Avon

'The Seagull' August 31, 1960
Royal Lyceum

'The Wallace' August 31, 1960
Assembly Hall

'Romulus The Great' September 7, 1960
Gateway

'Billy Liar' September 21, 1960
Cambridge

'Once Upon A Mattress' September 28, 1960
The Strand

'Progress To The Park' November 23, 1960
Theatre Royal, Stratford

'Trials By Logue' November 30, 1960
Royal Court

'The Duchess of Malfi' December 15, 1960
Aldwych


1961

'The Miracle Worker' January 1961
Royalty