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Hector Breeze RIP

January 6, 2019 in General

Cartoon from Private Eye – A Cartoon History

Rupert Besley writes:

The sad news of the passing of Hector Breeze not long after celebrating his 90th birthday, has, unsurprisingly, brought in a flood of tributes from fellow cartoonists, all recognising the greatness of the man along with the warmth, charm and wit of his cartoons. Hero, wonderful, great, favourite, brilliant, classic, prolific… are words piling up on the PCO forum from the pens of Pete Dredge, Noel Ford, Roger Penwill, Mike Turner, Neil Dishington, Andrew Birch, Glenn Marshall – and expect more to come as the news spreads.

Hector Breeze

Hector Breeze developed what was surely the perfect cartooning style for the kind of pocket-sized gags he churned out so prolifically and successfully over so many years (since the late 50s). With their robust lines, economy of detail and strong use of solid blacks, HB cartoons were instantly recognisable as his and stood out a mile off as funny. Central to them were his stock characters, ever charming, ever bewildered. Tramps, army chaplains, oddballs, kings. You had to warm to them.

‘Gentle humour’ is a damning phrase, usually coded for ‘not funny’. Hector Breeze cartoons were never savage or angry, but they were funny. Damned funny.

Private Eye cartoon

He sold his first cartoon to Melody Maker in 1957 and over the following five decades and more, Hector Breeze cartoons brought sheer enjoyment to national publications that included Private Eye, Punch, the Evening Standard, the Mirror, Sketch, Guardian and Express. Having begun in a government drawing office, he later worked in advertising. Among his other skills (no surprise from the clarity of his signature) was letter-carving in stone.

A collection of Hector’s work produced by Private Eye in 1973

As with Sprod, it took me some while to discover that Hector Breeze was his real name and not something dreamt up as pen-name (he couldn’t have hit on better if he had tried).

In 2011 the PCO Blog team put together a piece on the Top Ten of Cartoonists’ Favourite Cartoonists. Pete Dredge’s choice was Hector Breeze, illustrated with a perfect gag and summed up exactly right:

‘Out of the mouths of his mundane, benign, chunkily drawn characters comes the sharpest of captions.’

In 1996 Ralph Steadman wrote that Breeze’s “clumsy bewildered characters restore my faith in the seriously daft.”*

Cartoon from the Hector Breeze Private Eye Cartoon Library

From Pick of Punch, 1973

Our thoughts are with Hector’s family.

*Quote and photo courtesy of  The British Cartoon Archive

Ipswich to approve Giles Circus

December 16, 2009 in General

10610595

Ipswich Borough Council is expected to give the go-ahead to plans to revamp part of the town centre around a statue dedicated to the cartoonist Giles this week. The scheme, to be known as Giles Circus, will raise the statue of his Grandma character to a more prominent position and will include improvements to the pavement area, seating and disability access. The statue, which also features other members of the Giles Family, is situated near the late Daily Express cartoonist’s former studio and was unveiled in 1993 by actor Warren Mitchell.

Cartoon Pick of the Week

August 14, 2009 in Links, News

Bloghorn spotted this great work during this week ending the 14th August 2009.

One: Matt in the Daily Telegraph on US attacks on the NHS

Two: Paul Thomas in the Daily Express on the stand-in

Three: Tim Sanders in The Independent on Clinton in Korea

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent
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Cartoon Pick of the Week: Redacted

June 19, 2009 in Links, News

foghorn_for_posting_redacted MPs are back in the news again with the release of their heavily blacked-out expense reports, so Bloghorn has a special round-up of the best of the redacted, censored and otherwise obscured cartoons for the week ending the 19th June 2009.

One: Matt in the Daily Telegraph gives us a historical perspective on the story.

Two: Mac in the Daily Mail shows us a sneak preview of the upcoming Iraq enquiry testimony from Gordon Brown.

Three: There’s a brandspanking new ceremonial role in the Houses of Parliament in Peter Brookes cartoon for The Times

Four:whilst Dave Brown lets it all hang out in the open for the Independent

Five: Steve Bell in The Guardian goes with Tony Blair’s knowledge of torture in interrogations.

Six: It’s all done in the best possible taste for Andy Davey in the Sun

Seven and Eight:and finally, Paul Thomas in the Daily Express and Tim Sanders in the Independent just can’t find the words

Note: in the spirit of openness, and unlike the Goverment, Bloghorn believes that you should know all about this. Simply highlight the text above to reveal the redacted sections.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

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Cartoon Pick of the Week

February 20, 2009 in Links, News

Bloghorn spotted this great work during this week ending the 20th February 2009.

One: Fran Orford in Private Eye on paying top whack

Two: Paul Thomas in the Express on job security

Three: and Steve Bell in the Guardian on that underwater bonk.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent
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Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

Cartoon exhibition: Giles – One of the Family

November 5, 2008 in News

Original artwork by Carl Giles. Click to enlarge

The exhibition Giles: One of the Family opens today (November 5) at the Cartoon Museum in London. It showcases the work of Carl Giles (1916-1995), the most famous cartoonist of his generation.

Born in Islington, London, during the First World War, Giles joined the Daily Express in 1943 where he would create his quintessentially British “Giles Family”. For many people his cartoons capture British life in microcosm. Giles was voted Britain’s Favourite Cartoonist of the 20th century in a 2000 poll.

In 2005 – ten years after his death – the complete Giles collection passed to the British Cartoon Archive at the University of Kent. The material in the exhibition is drawn entirely from the 6,000 original drawings (dating from the 1940s to the 1990s), 1,500 prints, tens of thousands of letters, documents, films and ephemera together with the contents of his studio held at the Archive.

For more information on the Giles Collection or the British Cartoon Archive go to: www.cartoons.ac.uk

A catalogue of the exhibition published by the British Cartoon Archive is available for £25.

The Cartoon Museum, Little Russell Street, London, is open: Tues-Sat, 10.30am-5.30pm and Sun 12pm-5.30pm. Admission: Adults £4, Concessions £3, Free to Under 18s and students.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent