One of Searle's long running 'characters' was the reindeer which he used to great comic effect on multiple occasions. A relative of Searle's similarly pathetic horse motif, the reindeer says everything about the human condition.
Young Elizabethan magazine, January 1959
Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog
This later cover was used as the basis for this promotional snow globe.
...and here's a version of the image sans reindeer
Christmas card design 1992
This piece is in the art collection of the British Parliament 'The ancient and rather touching ceremony of proceeding towards Christmas' 2009
A seminal influence on the young Ronald Searle was the work of George Grosz. Apparently he took a small book of Grosz's work to war when he enlisted. Recently sold at auction: an original drawing given to Searle by the wife of one of his artistic idols George Grosz.
GEORGE GROSZ (GERMAN 1983-1959) FEMALE NUDE
Taken from a sketchbook dated 1912/1913, with pencil inscription from the family of the artist to Ronald Searle, pen and ink on paper
The sheet 23cm x 18cm (9in x 7in)
Note: The work is inscribed 'for Ronald Searle, To remember the placing of the Grosz plaque in Berlin on 6 December 1977, from Martin and Peter Grosz and his wife'. It is also inscribed by Ronald Searle to the reverse 'by George Grosz, taken from a sketchbook, dated 1912/1913, by Peter Grosz, Berlin, 7 December 1977, RS.'
Illustrated Autograph Letter Signed, to Irving, thanking him for the Eliot cutting and hoping to visit, joking that they were going to send a dove out to look for him instead of dry land. With a large illustration of a man holding a balloon. 1 page, single large 8vo sheet; mat burn. London, 27 September 1948
British Artist and Satirical Cartoonist. A.L.S., Ronald, one page, 4to, London, 30th July 1952, to Nicolas Bentley ('Dear Nick') on the printed stationery of Perpetua Limited. Searle informs his correspondent that he didn't fully enjoy a book, commenting 'It's difficult when you dislike almost every character. Still - it was interesting - and well written.' He further informs Bentley that he has to go away until the end of August on a couple of features, 'but meanwhile you could be looking out a drawing which would make an American laugh for £10', explaining, 'The wife of a big New York advertising man (Mr. Henry Bach of Henry Bach Associates!) [Inc. Inc.] wants me to get for her one or two originals of cartoons to hang in their apartment over there. (no commission!) She fell in love with your trotting passenger in the Sedan chair - but we weren't parting with it. So anything like.' In concluding Searle asks 'Did I tell you we are doing the odd book under this firm? Our first on dramatic criticism, critics and such subjects will be out in October and we hope it will sweep the profession! If it doesn't we'll have to give it away with ice creams in the Interval. Any way we are thoroughly enjoying ourselves.' VG Nicolas Bentley (1907-1978) British Author and Illustrator, best known for his humorous cartoon drawings in books and magazines of the 1930s and 1940s.
British Artist and Satirical Cartoonist. A.L.S., Ronald, two pages, 4to, Paris, 21st June 1975, to Nicolas Bentley ('Dear Nick'). Searle states that he was delighted to hear from his friend and remarks 'I don't know a thing about the OMNIBUS film & haven't seen it....So it was marvellous to have a spontaneous reaction like that from you & to know that you didn't consider it a waste of time to have chatted out once and for all some of those thoughts that go round in the head - but are usually kept out of sight. I must confess I hesitated over the idea for a long time because I much prefer to remain a private person. People call it 'secretive'. But it is not. I'm all for cutting out the inessentials & getting some peace & quiet.' Searle continues to refer to his wife's illness and further adds 'By the way - she is a great detective fiction buff. A couple of weeks ago she tracked down a first edition of Trent's Last Case through a second hand bookseller & she asked me to tell you how much she enjoyed Floating Dutchman. Now she is chasing your others as it made her thirst to read more. She combs almost every second hand bookseller's catalogue in GB. Her form of regular treasure hunting.', also commenting on his own work, 'I get tired too easily now. I work more tranquilly now - & the work may be better for it. But noise drives me mad & I am obviously showing signs of wear.' In concluding Searle reflects 'And why didn't they knight you instead of the amateur Lancaster? Shaming I thought, that the only signs of recognition to the profession - apart from Low on his deathbed - in the last 20 years, should be Giles & Osbert. Or do they only read the Daily Express? Pathetic.' A letter of interesting content.
British Artist and Satirical Cartoonist. Vintage signed and inscribed 9 x 7 photograph of Searle seated outdoors in a full length pose alongside another gentleman. Signed in bold blue fountain pen ink across a light area of the image, 'To Walter Alford, Souvenir of a pleasant 'Monte Carlo' day in Rome, with best wishes, Ronald Searle' and dated August 1968 in his hand.
Typed Letter to (Searle's secretary) Jean Ellsmoor
Monday 30 October 1961-Chris Beetles Gallery
'One page, 242 x 190mm, printed letterpaper, illustrated with a sketch showing the Belles of St Trinian's and Miss Fritton.
A letter from Ronald Searle to the writer and broadcaster Arthur Marshall featuring his most famous creation – the Belles of St Trinian's – caught in a moment of mischief. 'St Trinians send you their very best thanks and good wishes for a charming reception. Their activities sounded so much funnier than we, as founder, thought they were on paper! – and they enjoyed it very much'.
In 1949, the year after the present letter was written, Ronald Searle collaborated with the writer and broadcaster Arthur Marshall (1910-1989) on a feature for a Christmas edition of Lilliput magazine; Marshall supplied the words for 'Look Out King Wenceslas', which was then illustrated by Searle. After Searle, Marshall was perhaps the best-known parodist of life in British girls' schools at the time, though his broad career would later extend across radio, television and the stage.' - Christie's
Two intriguing manuscript books designed by Ronald Searle went for auction over the summer; 'dummy' copies of a Molesworth book ' Down With Skool!' and 'The Terror of St Trinian's'. It's fascinating to see Searle's thorough preparation for each project he worked on. I'd love to see more images if the buyer is reading this... MANUSCRIPT. - Ronald SEARLE (illustrator) and Geoffrey WILLANS. Down With Skool! [N.p.: n.d. but circa 1953]. 98pp. original typed manuscript, loose leaf (257 x 198mm.) containing original Ronald Searle drawings in ink on approximately two thirds of the manuscript pages. (Red crayon cancel lines through all the leaves, browning, corner creases.) Tie-bound to top corner. Note: 'Down With Skool' is the first of the four 'Nigel Molesworth' novels that Searle illustrated for Geoffrey Willans. - And a further book by Ronald Searle and 'Timothy Shy' (a 'dummy' copy of 'The Terror of St. Trinians', 1952, 8vo) (2).
Publisher’s ‘dummy’ copy of The Terror of St Trinian’s, Ronald Searle’s first joint effort with Timothy Shy, aka D B Wyndham Lewis. Every illustration and printed text carefully pasted into place, complete with handwritten corrections and comments