January 28, 2012

Ronald Searle, arguably Britain's foremost cartoonist, iconic illustrator of the St Trinian's books (more here and here) and Molesworth, died at the end of last year at the age of 91.

He began his "professional" career as an artist while held as a Japanese POW during World War II, where he managed to produce hundreds of drawings showing the horrific conditions in the camp. He was a prolific creator, producing books, cartoons, adverts and films, and was a great influence on many other artists. There is an utterly charming interview with him here (youtube) and some more pictures here (drinking his daily champagne, what he called his "engine oil"). Personally I love him most for the glorious Molesworth - the 1950s prep-school boy aka the "goriller of 3B" and "curse of st custard's which is the skool i am at" (and who these days can be found on twitter) whose particular brand of appalling spelling and slang still resonates deeply with many readers: the normally straight-laced Economist newspaper gave Searle this beautiful and very fitting obituary.

  • My first copy of "A Christmas Carol" was illustrated by Searle. And that's how I always remember the characters. And I have to say, Patrick Stewart looks *nothing* like Scrooge ;)
  • I have a large signed print of a grumpy street sweeper cleaning up a pile of smiling cats, which my mother gave me as a housewarming present, after admiring it for many, many years.
  • .
  • cheesy, I am in awe. Signed print - wow. Any chance of a pic?
  • Seconding the pic! I immediately turned green when I read that post. Searle was a childhood favorite. :(
  • His cartoons resemble Arnold Roth's. Would that be an agreeable comparison?
  • I am seeing a lot of grumpiness.