Wednesday, February 27, 2013


The Emerald Isle as seen through Searle's eyes.  Drawn in 1962 but published in 'Holiday' magazine April 1963.

'The human traffic on O'Connell Street, watched over by an angelic harp'.

At Trinity College this rebellious student reads Brendan Behan while the others are engrossed with Shaw, Wilde et al.

'Often, in Dublin, it is considered more sporting to loose your shirt than to keep it on.  Hence the popularity of horses.'

'Tears flow easy in a Dublin pub, but not even the heartbreaking songs from a brendanbehanish bard can truly water the beer.'

"It's Guinness!" O'Connell Bridge and the Liffey June 1962 (unpublished)

The Quays

Merrion Square

'Ireland is poor because it is infested by tricky thieves called leprechauns, who diligently hold up the exchequer in broad fairy light.  As greedy as their four-footed helpers, they bury their loot in crocks at the rainbow's end.'

'With his head not quite tucked underneath his arm, Dublin's logomachic chronicler, James Joyce, haunts the Martello tower at Sandycove.  As everyone recalls, the opening scene of his 783-page ulyssiad unravels here-a conversation of sorts between stately, plump Black Mulligan and moody, broody Stephen Dadalus.'
'The Antic Arts- Dublin's Lusty Theatre'

The drawing above recently sold at auction was not published as part of the article.

Searle illustrated this report by S. J. Perelman on 'the haunted manor of Poltrooney'.

Illustrations for 'In Quest of Beer' by Frank O'Connor
HOLIDAY magazine 1957 January

'Paris Folklore-Irish pubs all over' International Herald Tribune 15-16 March 1997
pg 24 'Green Power: the Irish Pub Invasion' by Mary Blume

Drawn for HOLIDAY but unpublished

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

More Winespeak

In the early 80s Searle was commissioned by wine-maker John Goelet to publicise his Clos du Val winery in the Napa Valley, California and his Taltarni vineyard in Moonambel, Australia.

The drawings were later published in the collections titled 'The Illustrated Winespeak' and 'Something In the Cellar'

Republished in 1987 as 'Ozzie Winespeak' to promote Taltarni and the Americas Cup.

Ivor Wood animates Searle's Winespeak drawings for the Clos du Val winery. In the video online here you'll see Searle's Bacchus & his kangaroo steed animated in stop-motion!  The drawn animation is some of the best examples of Searle's style animated in 2-D.

See more on Wood and Searle's animation here

Searle on wine - one of his favourite subjects!

Searle also designed their wine bottle labels

 'Petit verdot'

Friday, February 15, 2013

'Beast Friends Forever'

Watch a promo reel for 'Beast Friends Forever' by Robert L. Forbes illustrated by Ronald Searle

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Stephen Nadler's blog on Searle & Valentines Day reminds me-

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Searle in Colour

Searle made his name of course with his inky, scratchy black and white drawings but from his early career he demonstrated a unique command of colour too.  The palettes he used were often unusual but very striking.

'A Trip to the Seaside' for Lilliput Magazine 1947

'Festival of Britain' for Punch magazine 1951
Searle mastered these intricate tableau colour spreads. It's a joy to scrutinize the details of these pictures.

Fortune magazine 1956

Fortune magazine 1961

The 'red sky  at night' of the Punch cover above contrasts beautifully with the almost turquoise grass.
It may have inspired the colour palette of the next piece but it was actually published the year after so unlikely.  Compare this seaside image with the Lilliput piece a decade earlier-Searle's stylistic range is remarkable.
Punch 14th August 1957