Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Update

Stephen Nadler blogs about a piece of personal Searle art here
Searle fans in L.A. should see the Searle retrospective exhibition at Gallery Nucleus through January 29th.  I've updated the following sections:
New Yorker Covers
Book covers
Lemon Hart Rum
Toujours Provence
New Yorker Editorial
Theatre Design

Ronald Searle is profiled in Making Great Illustration, a collection of interviews with todays' top illustrators featuring amongst others Ralph Steadman, Quentin Blake, Dave McKean and Pete Fowler.
A perfect Christmas gift for illustration fans-buy it on Amazon.

Last year Searle contributed to the 'Inspired by Soanes' exhibition at the Sir John Soanes Museum, London. See all the artwork here

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What Book?


Cartoonist Ronald Searle
I am reading What Am I Still Doing Here? by Roger Lewis.
This is not because I designed the jacket (without seeing any text), but because it is a wild saga of witty, thought-provoking, intelligent ramblings - and it's frequently spendidly vulgar to boot.


I would take Jenny Uglow's extraordinarily fascinating biography William Hogarth: A Life And A World. It took me over a year to read it the first time. I'd happily enjoy repeating that, and then get off the island, thanks very much.


In the English classes of our small elementatary school, we were read Dickens. I was about 12 and totally bowled over by his visions and imagination.
So I would cycle off to the local town lending library, stuff my bicyle basket with the rest of Dickens and wallow.
And I've never regretted it.


I can't say that I have read - knowingly - a book that left me cold. But, if I may twist the question, I recently bought a book that freezes to the bone. The Eichmann Trial by Deborah Lipstadt.
I attended that trial and spent a month in the courtroom regarding the man to whom a few millions of killings during World War II were but figures in his notebook.

Sunday, November 06, 2011


International design journal Graphis magazine featured Searle's work on several occasions over the years.

Its first feature on Searle profiled the artist in 1948 with this lavish 6 page spread.  Exposure such as this must have helped Searle establish his reputation in the years after WWII.

 Wonderfully loose St. Trinians sketch on the right.

(Courtesy of Full

In 1958 issue 80 printed an 11 page spread on Searle and his work

In 1980 issue 212 profiled Searle again with text by Dr. Alexander Duckers

In 1969 the magazine invited prominent graphic artists and illustrators to celebrate its 25th anniversary.  Gene Gable looks back at that issue at Creative

Searle contributed several spectacular covers:

Issue 80 A frightening Picassoesque female artist

Issue 129 (1967) Stuck for an idea Searle creates a cover from the very problem of 'artists' block'!

Issue 169
Searle managed to use this rejected cover from the New Yorker for a 1973 Graphis cover

Friday, October 28, 2011

What am I still doing here?

Stephen Nadler has blogged about Searle's cover artwork for Roger Lewis' 'What Am I Still Doing Here?'

Mr Lewis was fortunate to keep the artwork and had it and the rough framed

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Goodbye Mrs Mole

I was saddened over the summer to hear that Ronald Searle's wife and soulmate of 50 years, Monica, passed away. I had the great privilege of meeting Monica on several occasions and remain ever grateful for having the chance to spend time with a lady of great charm and class. The Daily Mail has ran a touching article with words from Ronald himself.  Read it here

This  report by Derek Brazell of the AOI on a visit with the Searles last summer gives a sense of how pleasurable it was to spend a day with Ronald & Monica.

The Mrs Mole drawings are to be published in the UK on the 27th October. Available from the publisher here

Previous post on the Les tres riche heures de Mrs Mole exhibition at London's Cartoon Museum

Monday, September 12, 2011

Searle's Artistic Heroes

Searle himself has been inspired by a wide array of artists, cartoonist and caricaturists. Searle's own private collection of art contains works by Caracci, Cruickshank, Grosz, Gillray,

There are a handful of key artists and cartoonists whose influence can be detected in his work.
Searle certainly owes a debt to contemporaries such as Andre Francois, Sempe and of course Saul Steinberg.
'Homage au Steinberg'

Through his 50s imprint Perpetua Searle published an academic volume on Toulouse Lautrec and later an illustrated hommage to the short statured ladies man.

In 1977 Searle made a series of studies after Watteau for a medallion design he was working on for the French Mint.

Perhaps Searle's greatest idol is of course Picasso.  He made a couple of Punch covers in a Picasso-esque style and even a series of portraits of Picasso in the style of other modern masters.
Punch 29th June 1960

Photographs of the originals in the Searle Archive, Hanover

Portrait of Picasso in the style of Henry Moore

Portrait of Picasso in the style of Graham Sutherland

Portrait of Picasso in the style of Augustus John

Portrait of Picasso in the style of John Bratby

Punch 24th October 1956

Searle seemed to take great delight in working in a Picasso-like fashion. Punch valued Searle's contribution such that it wouldn't surprise me if it was his idea to make these hommages to the greatest living painter of the time.
A Picasso-esque interpretation of John Everett Millais' 'The Boyhood of Raleigh'

Sir Edwin Landseer's 'Monarch of The Glen' 

Franz Hals' 'Laughing Cavalier'

Ever versatile Searle emulates Francis Bacon and L. S. Lowry for a Punch satirical 'Arts Takeover'

Riffing on Frans Hals' 'The Anatomy Lesson' for the 1955 Punch Almanack's 'Christmas Cards: An Advance Selection II'

'It was Christmas Day in the Workhouse' in the style of Graham Sutherland for the 1955 Punch Almanack

In this illustration for TV Guide again we see Searle using Picasso's motifs, in this case elements of 'Guernica'

See also Stephen Nadler's article on a 'triplicate' cartoon from The New Yorker featuring Searle