Words and pictures by Kasia Kowalska
The first anniversary of Martin Honeysett’s untimely death on 21 January 2015 was marked at The Cartoon Museum in Little Russell Street with the opening of a retrospective exhibition of his cartoons and illustrations.
It opened to a full house, attended by the family, friends and admirers of the great artist and over 30 fellow cartoonists, including PCO members John Jensen, Martin Rowson, Cathy Simpson, Simon Ellinas, Dave Brown, Jeremy Banx, Rupert Besley, Andy Davey, Royston Robertson and Glenn Marshall.
The exhibition, “A Taste Of Honeysett”, presents the much-missed man as the cartoonist’s cartoonist. People in the cartooning community often refer to him as a giant of British cartooning. He is fondly remembered for his unique, spidery line and dark, acerbic wit which has entertained many for over forty years.
Martin Honeysett contributed to a great many publications during his long career including Punch, The New Statesman, The Sunday Telegraph, The Observer, The Radio Times and, of course, Private Eye and The Oldie.
And so it was that the exhibition was opened by the co-founder of Private Eye and former editor of The Oldie, Richard Ingrams, who delivered a deeply touching speech about the cartoonist. He recalled an often-quoted anecdote that when asked why he drew his characters in such an unflattering way, Honeysett replied: “But that’s exactly the way they look!”
The exhibition was also attended by Michael Palin for whom Martin Honeysett illustrated Bert Fegg’s Nasty Book for Boys and Girls
and Dr. Fegg’s Encyclopaedia of All World Knowledge. He recalled how Terry Jones came across the cartoonist at a Punch party and
was very excited about getting him involved in the project. The only thing was, Honeysett never met the Python at the party. In fact, Terry Jones met a complely different cartoonist whose name remains a mystery…
The exhibition runs from 20th January to 16th April 2016. There is an accompanying catalogue (with contributions by Ian Hislop and Richard Ingrams) available from The Cartoon Museum Shop.