Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Ronald Searle - 3 March 1920 – 30 December 2011

Ronald Searle died a few days ago on 30th December 2011. I saw the 2010 exhibition of his work at the Cartoon Museum - which marked his 90th birthday, and the exhibition catalogue is already well-thumbed on my studio bookshelf. The exhibition did justice to the vast range of his work, from very early drawings through the drawings he produced while a POW working on the infamous Thai-Burma railway, to his best known work as the creator of St Trinians and the Molesworth/Down with Skool books he produced with Geoffrey Willans. His drawings were genuinely inspiring - I particularly loved the pen-and-ink reportage work he produced in the 50s in his "People Worth Meeting" and "Looking at London" series, as well as the more obviously humorous drawings he produced during his visits to the US, and he was clearly a man who loved to draw. The exhibition was justly titled "Ronald Searle - Graphic Master" - I'm not sure anyone else has ever imbued such beautiful line drawings with so much humanity and humour - and his influence on many great illustrators is undeniable. RIP.

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