Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Celebrated British Caricaturists – Part Two

September 11, 2011 by  
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This list includes both British born artists and those who were born elsewhere but did most of their most important creations in the U.K. The assortment is listed in chronological order by date of birth.

Max Beerbohm ( 1872 ? 1956 )

Sir Henry Maximilian “Max” Beerbohm was born in London, son of a well-to-do Lithuanian-born grain merchant. His family gave him he nick-name of Max and this is what he signed himself in his work and was known as for the rest of his life.

Beerbohm was educated at Charterhouse School and Merton College, Oxford but finished without taking a degree as he was already well recognized as a caricaturist and humourist.

He had an incapacity to draw hands and feet but was very good at heads and his dandified figures with inflated heads quickly became his trade-mark. The Times newspaper in 1913 described him as ?the greatest of English comic artists and he was variously hailed as ?the English Goya? and “the greatest portrayer of personalities in the history of art?

Henry Bateman (1887 – 1970)

Bateman was born in New South Wales, Australia of English parents who returned to England soon after he was born. He studied art at Westminster School of Art and the Goldsmith Institute.

His style matured early in life and by the age of 17 it was already established. He achieved a deal with Tatler magazine but is best well-known for his ?The Man Who??.? series of cartoons. These showed hapless people who had committed mostly upper class social faux pas. ?The Man Who lit his Cigar before the Loyal Toast? is a prime example.

Sir David Low (1891 – 1963)

Sir David Alexander Cecil Low was born in New Zealand and taught at Dunedin and Christchurch. He began his professional life in New Zealand and in fact his first effort was published while he was only 11 years of age.

He later moved to Australia and subsequently to England and by 1927 was working for The Evening Standard. He is best well-known for his caricatures depicting Hitler and Mussolini both before and during World War II. In fact, generations of New Zealand school children learned about the origins of the Second World War using textbooks illustrated by Low.

He was particularly hated by Hitler and after the war it was discovered that his name was in the ?Black Book? which listed those who the Nazis wished to arrest when they had occupied Britain.

Low was knighted in 1962, a year before his death. His obituary spoke of him as “the dominant cartoonist of the western world”

Ronald Searle (b. 1920)

Ronald William Fordham Searle was born in Cambridge and began drawing at the prodigiously early age of five and was working professionally by the age of 15. The War interrupted his art studies and he enlisted in the Royal Engineers .

He was serving in Singapore when he was captured by the Japanese. He was a prisoner of war for the rest of the war eventually working on the notorious Siam-Burma ?Death Railway?. He created, in secret, many drawings depicting conditions in the camps which survived detection by being hidden under the mattresses of dying prisoners.

He returned to England at the end of the war and produced a prodigious volume of work in the 1950?s and 60?s. However he is best known as the creator of ?St Trinians School?.

Gerald Scarfe (b. 1936)

Gerald Anthony Scarfe was born in London and as a child was severely asthmatic. During his early bed-ridden years he busied himself by drawing. He started his working life in advertising but by the early 60?s his caricatures were appearing in ?Private Eye? and this led to a job with the ?Daily Mail?.

But it was his effort with the British rock group Pink Floyd for which he is best known particularly the illustration for the cover of their 1979 album ?The Wall?.

Searle also supplied the caricatures for the opening and closing sequences of the well-liked BBC comedy ?Yes Minister? and in 1998 he drew caricatures of Tommy Cooper, Eric Morecombe, Joyce Grenfell, Les Dawson and Peter Cook which featured on a set of five British postage stamps celebrating British comedians.

Owen Jones, the author of this article writes on various topics but is presently concerned with Kitty Cannon 3. If you would like to read more, please go over to our web site entitled Kitten Cannon 3.

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