“In the spring of 1947 I was asked to select four artists to record the building of a railway in the wilds of eastern Bosnia, then part of Yugoslavia. At once I thought of Ronald Searle, who was becoming known through the pages of Punch and Lilliput. His remarkable chronicle of life in Japanese prisoner-of-war camps had made a big impression on the public, and had he not helped to build another railway, a railway of death? Still gaunt from the experience, he looked like a Grunewald Christ. The other members of the group were Laurence Scarfe, who represented the English pastoral tradition of topographical watercolour painting; Percy Horton, the distinguished tutor of drawing at the RCA; the art historian Francis Klingender; and myself.
We departed in high spirits and, after an arduous train journey, finally arrived at Llubljana, the Slovene capital, in the sweltering heat of August. The next day we began a demanding week drawing in the souks of Sarajevo and Zenica, before continuing to the construction sites of the 'Youth Railway', where we drew brawny, sun-bronzed students, wizened peasants and smooth-talking officials. . .
'Peasant Boy, Yranduk'
'Study of a boy, Vvduduk'
In a review of the exhibition dated February 20th, 1948 the 'Spectator' remarks on the drawings "by Ronald Searle, whose impressive graphic facility sometimes recalls the early John" - Augustus John I presume.
Our Time Volumes 7-8
Studio International Volume 137
The Spectator Volume 180