Monday, March 21, 2011

Morbid Anatomies

Perhaps inspired by this 1950 Lilliput illustration Searle's 'Morbid Anatomies' first appeared in Holiday magazine

HOLIDAY magazine February 1958

HOLIDAY magazine April 1961

Searle's agent was forced to threaten legal action when the series was later ripped off for a print campaign advertising London Fog overcoats.   Vogue Magazine was good enough to commission the artist himself to produce this variation. . .

. . . as was HOLIDAY magazine.

"I found this Ronald Searle illustration, which accompanies a tongue-in-cheek article on Southern mores and manners by North Carolina–born author Frances Gray Patton, in the November 1959 issue of Holiday magazine. . ."
Anatomy of an Antiquarian Bookseller

'Anatomy of an Amateur Golfer' 
Travel & Leisure Magazine 1972

The Morbid Anatomy was subsequently appropriated by other cartoonists.
Cartoon Museum, London

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Added some rare early colour examples to the Lilliput blog
(courtesy of the comprehensive Fulltable website)
See more colour images from Lilliput here

The British Museum has finally started to put its archive online.  You can now view excellent images of Searle's Rake's Progress series here .
Readers may recall my visit to the Drawings & Prints room to photograph the originals.

Added a rare early dustjacket to the bookcover section

Added LBJ to the Political Portraits section

Published the Energetically Yours section

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


'Hanover, Germany  - The British cartoonist Ronald Searle, who has lived in the south of France for the past three decades, has sold a lifetime of original drawings to a German museum, the museum said Wednesday.
Searle's spiky cartoons have been a fixture in the news media, books and films for more than six decades.
The Wilhelm Busch Museum of Caricature and Drawing in Hanover is to mount a first exhibition, spanning 75 years of his work, later this month, Gisela Vetter-Liebenow, deputy museum director, said.
She said Searle, 91, and his wife Monica had been paid just under 1 million euros (1.4 million dollars) by the Lower Saxony state culture fund for more than 2,000 sketches, 50 books of drawings and lithographs. The British Museum in London also holds Searle work.
"He's still drawing," said Vetter-Liebenow.
The sale of literary papers includes drawings he did on a 1961 assignment for US magazine Life of the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem.'

Ronald Searle stresses that the 1 million euro sale has actually been in the form of an ongoing 'pension' payment to him and Monica.  Awarded by the Lower Saxony cultural foundation for Ronald's long association with the museum (since around 1960).

I just stumbled upon this article from the AOI's Derek Brazell, where Ronald mentions the Wilhelm-Busch museum.

AOI Patron, Ronald Searle, would never lay claim to this himself, but he is one of the most influential illustrators the UK has produced, and has esteemed illustrators like Ralph Steadman, Posy Simmons, Steve Bell and Gerald Scarfe lining up to pay tribute to him and his work. His work has encompassed everything from sensitive depictions of refugees to the hilarious out of control St Trinian's schoolgirls. AOI's Derek Brazell visited Ronald and his wife Monica in April to interview him for an upcoming book Making Great Illustration. They live in a picturesque hilltop village in the south of France, where they have been resident since the sixties, and were charmingly welcoming, breaking out the famous pink champagne 'engine-oil'!
Ronald spoke about how professional he believed the AOI was and how much he liked Varoom magazine, as well as covering his thoughts on illustration and how he puts his artwork together. He also spoke about his work held at the Wilhelm-Busch-Museum in Hannover, 'What they wanted was the possibility to have the whole archive of one person that they could actually open to the public to show how one illustrator would work. So I’m leaving all my archive, and all my basic stuff to them, which is protected under German law, can never be split up, must be available to the public. If by any chance the museum closed it belongs to the German state and must go to another museum. Fantastic.'
From the AOI website
Ronald and Monica Searle at the museum in 2001 for their joint exhibition Searle and Searle.  Monica had her hand-made jewelry designs on display.

Thursday, March 03, 2011


To celebrate Ronald's 91st let's take a look back at last years' celebratory exhibitions for his 90th.  For those who couldn't make it to London here's a birthday treat.  The highlight was the Cartoon Museum's retrospective curated by Anita O Brien with the collaboration of Ronald and Monica Searle and Steve Bell.
Featuring hundreds of choice pieces it was heaven for Searle fans!

The rabbit featured in Wendy Toye's production of 'Wild Thyme' (1955)

Across town at Chris Beetles' gallery they were celebrating with an extensive retrospective too.  Some pieces were on loan from the collections of Searle fans but most were available to purchase.

"Objects of worship I should imagine"