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by Royston

Thelwell show rides into town

May 11, 2009 in General

The Chris Beetles Gallery in London is hosting The Definitive Thelwell from this Wednesday (May 13) until June 6, the first selling show of work by Norman Thelwell in 20 years.

Thelwell is best remembered for his fat ponies and their long-suffering young riders, but he was a wide-ranging artist, who tackled many subjects for many papers and magazines, including Punch, with which he developed a close relationship over 25 years.

He had a strong understanding of the British character, and may be considered the post-war heir to Pont of Punch. From estate agents to battery farmers, hunt protesters to harassed motorists, Thelwell chronicled the minutiae of our lives.

An accomplished landscape painter, Thelwell produced detailed, naturalistic settings for lively, comic figures that represent what he called, “the endearing lunacy of human behaviour”. The Definitive Thelwell provides a comprehensive cross-section of this work, with more than 150 drawings and watercolours. The show includes landscapes and seascapes as well as cartoons.

The Chris Beetles Gallery, at 8 and 10 Ryder Street, St James’s, London (nearest Tube Green Park or Piccadilly Circus) is open Monday to Saturday, 10am – 5.30pm.

For more details visit the website:

by Royston

Pont events at the Cartoon Museum

May 21, 2008 in General

The Cartoon Museum has a series of evening events lined up to accompany its exhibition Pont – Observing the British at Home and Abroad, which was reviewed here last week.

Pont – the Making of a Humorous Artist, June 5: Illustrated talk with Anita O’Brien, discussing the evolution of Pont’s style from his drawings of the early 1930s to his wartime work.

Pont of Punch, June 19. Former Punch archivist and Cartoon Museum trustee Amanda-Jane Doran looks at Pont as a Punch artist.

In Praise of Pont – Cartoonists’ Roundtable, June 26: A host of cartoonists join Richard Ingrams to discuss the wit and artistry of Pont. The panel includes Steve Bell, Peter Brookes, Nicholas Garland, John Jensen, Nick Newman and Posy Simmonds.

Graham Laidler, The Man Behind Pont, July 3: Simon Booth reveals more about the short but eventful life of Graham Laidler, aka Pont.

For full details on times and ticket prices, visit the Cartoon Museum website.

The PCO: Today’s British cartoon talent

by Royston

Review: Pont at the Cartoon Museum

May 14, 2008 in General

PCOer Royston Robertson reviews the exhibition Pont: Observing the British at Home and Abroad at the Cartoon Museum It’s probably asking for trouble to use the word “important” in relation to a cartoon exhibition, but it seems applicable here as Pont, who was known as Graham Laidler to his mum, is so often overlooked when histories of cartooning are written.

Also, these cartoons from the 1930s were clearly instrumental in helping to create the magazine cartoon as we know it today. And a tribute to their worth is the fact that so many are laugh-out-loud funny, even now.

Pont’s The British Character cartoons, which appeared in Punch and make up a large chunk of the show, still seem to hit the nail on the head. Even the captions in themselves are funny: “Fondness for laughing at our own anecdotes”; “Passion for not forgetting the moderately great”; and, my particular favourite, “A tendency to leave the washing-up till later”.

The drawings demand your attention, and repay you with lots of brilliant details. Look at that impatient left foot in the drawing above! In “Life in the Flat Above”, part of the Popular Misconceptions series, we see every member of the family jumping up and down on the floor and clanging pots, but look closer and you see that figures in the paintings on the walls, including an elephant, are also jumping.
Laidler died at 32, a tragically short life, but what a groundbreaking legacy he left. The cartoon above looks like a 1930s precursor to the melancholy of Charles Schulz’s Peanuts.

So it’s an important show, but it’s mostly just very, very funny. The exhibition, which includes a comprehensive and reasonably priced catalogue, is at the Cartoon Museum until July 27. Go and see it.

The Cartoon Museum website

The PCO: British cartoon talent

by Royston

Cartoon exhibition: Pont of Punch

April 11, 2008 in General

Cartoon by Punch cartoonist Pont. (Click to enlarge)

An exhibition entitled Pont: Observing the British at Home and Abroad runs at the Cartoon Museum in London from April 23 until July 27.

It features more than 90 classic cartoons about the quirks of the British by Graham Laidler, better known as the Punch cartoonist Pont.

The Cartoon Museum is at 35 Little Russell Street, London. It is open Tue-Sat, 10.30am-5.30pm; Sun 12pm-5.30pm. Admission: £4, £3, free to students and under-18s. Visit the Cartoon Museum website.

British cartoon talent