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And the winner is…

January 31, 2011 in News

Congratulations to the winner of our January competition.

Mark_Bryant_WW2_in_cartoons @ for the UK Professional Cartoonists Organisation

Mark Bryant WW2 in cartoons

We hope Stuart Cooper will enjoy his copy of Mark Bryant’s excellent book – World War 2 in cartoons. Stuart correctly answered questions one, two and three and in strictly sequential order those answers were:

Question 1. Careless Talk (profile)

Question 2. Bruce Bairnsfather (profile)

Question 3. Ronald Searle (profile)

The book is now winging its way to our victorious reader in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.

Thanks to everyone who entered and we are sorry there could only be one victor this time.

Capital cartooning

January 15, 2011 in News

Bloghorn notes some new cartoon-related events coming soon to London town.

There’s an exhibition of the cartoons Ronald Searle drew for his wife, Les Très Riches Heures de Mrs. Mole, while she was undergoing chemotherapy, accompanied by a talk on Searle’s life by Valerie Grove on Tuesday, 15 February 2011 at The Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, London, WC1N 1AZ. Tickets are £20, books and signed prints will be on sale, with proceeds going to Macmillan Cancer Support and The Foundling Museum. (Thanks to the Ronald Searle Tribute blog for the tip)

There’s free comic workshops on offer for 16-20 year olds at londonprintstudio, 425 Harrow Road, London W10 4RE on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from the 18th January. There’s a £5 booking fee, but this will be reimbursed on arrival. Visit for more information or call 020 8969 3247 to book. (thanks to for the tip)

And finally, the Comix Reader, is having a launch party upstairs at the Crown, 51 New Oxford Street, London WC1A 1BL on the 2nd February. The publication, described as “Underground Alternative Independent Satirical Carnivalesque Comix Entertainment” is already on sale for £1 at a number of stockists.

We  are sure there are many other events across the country and we would welcome news of them as readers see them. You can contact us here or using our social media outlets.

House of Illustration

November 25, 2010 in General, News

Illustration from The Very Hungry Caterpiller by Eric Carle

Cartoons and illustrations by some of the biggest names in the business are due to go under the hammer next month in support of the House of Illustration. The Sotheby’s auction, to be held on the 16th December, will feature work by Peter Brookes, Gerald Scarfe, Eric Carle (from children’s classic The Very Hungry Caterpiller), Beryl CookeRonald Searle and organiser Quentin Blake, amongst others. Some of the pieces up for grabs can be seen here.

The House of Illustration aiming to be the world’s first centre dedicated to the art of illustration, and has a site earmarked in the Kings Cross regeneration centre in central London.

Beetles and Cats

August 4, 2010 in General, News

"You'd better release their ball. They've kidnapped the cat" by Norman Thelwell

The Chris Beetles Gallery in London has an exhibition of cat cartoons, illustrations and paintings opening later this month, titled Louis Wain and the Summer Cat Show 2010.

This show marks the 30th annual exhibition of British cat art at Chris Beetles. Alongside work by the eccentric Edwardian cat artist, Louis Wain, the exhibition features cartoons and sketches by William Heath Robinson, Norman Thelwell and Ronald Searle, although some of the paintings on show do remind Bloghorn of the infamous Viz commemorative plate The Life of Christ in Cats.

Louis Wain and the Summer Cat Show will be showing at the Chris Beetles Gallery, 8 & 10 Ryder St, St James’s, London, from August 14 to September 4, opening hours 10am – 5.30pm, Monday – Saturday. For more details go to

Support the UK’s Cartoon Museum

March 18, 2010 in Comment, News

Bloghorn_cartoonists © for the UK Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation

The Cartoon Art Trust, the registered charity [pdf] behind the UK national Cartoon Museum, receives no state or public funding. This means that every year the trustees have to raise £150,000 to run it.

For the first time in several years, the museum have managed to get a funds-runner a place in the London Marathon. Step forward one Marcus Barclay. Bloghorn thinks respect is due to this volunteer.

Marcus and his efforts are one of the museum’s main fundraising events of the year and any donation, however small, is very welcome. Bloghorn understands it is easy to make a donation using the Cartoon Museum’s online sponsorship page – which we have linked to below – and we would like to encourage our readers to do so.

Cartoon Museum London Marathon fundraiser

The Museum is currently showing Ronald Searle – Graphic Master which we have reported on here.

Ronald Searle on Ronald Searle

March 11, 2010 in Comment

Interviewed by, wait for it, Nick Glass* for Channel 4 News.
Bloghorn says watch for the full explanation.

Steve Bell on Ronald Searle

March 10, 2010 in Comment

Cartoonist Steve Bell, who curated the current Ronald Searle show at the Cartoon Museum writes here about the experience. You can read more of Bloghorn’s coverage about the three Searle shows currently on in London here.

by Royston

How cartoons help us cope

March 8, 2010 in Comment

Libby Purves, patron of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation, which runs the Bloghorn, writes in the Times today about how cartoons help us confront the dark side of human nature:

Cartoon grotesques let us face the real horrors

Above: Libby chats to the Guardian’s Steve Bell, creator of more than his fair share of cartoon grotesques, at last year’s Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival. Photograph © Gerard Whyman

Ronald Searle shows open in London

March 2, 2010 in Comment

In the spirit of our recent coverage of the Ronald Searle exhibitions, we are pleased to publish Martin Rowson‘s article from the exhibition catalogue produced by the Cartoon Museum.

In 1999 Ronald Searle was judged, by his fellow cartoonists, to be the greatest cartoonist of the 20th Century. It’s a judgement I thoroughly endorse, though as someone who was brought up on Searle, like most people of my generation born in the late 50s and early 60s, I thought distant worship would be as close as I ever got to him. After all, Searle famously scarpered when I was about one, so I, along with other British cartoonists, could only ever venerate him as the King Across the Water.

Still, when I was approached in 2005 to front a BBC4 documentary about Searle, I jumped at the chance, even though he made clear very early on he wanted nothing whatsoever to do the making of the film or anyone involved with it. That’s his prerogative, and my reverence for him includes a deep respect for his desire for a bit of peace and quiet. Nonetheless, the programme went ahead without him, and I enjoyed it for the most part (although, as I’d decided to speak to camera unscripted, to capture a greater sense of immediacy, there were occasions when the demands of the producer that I repeat a line 20 times meant that by the end I kept forgetting it, as well as forgetting what it could possibly mean.)

Part of the gig – part of the reason they’d got me to do it in the first place – was that, when pressed, I can draw a little bit like the master, and I did several pieces to camera sitting at a drawing board and replicating his style. One riff I went off on was the idea that Searle had invented his version of Hogarth’s famous “Line of Beauty”, which in his case was the “Angle of Beauty”, which I claimed was an acute angle of 37 degrees (I made that bit up, but you get the point) which can be seen repeated again and again in his depiction of feet and noses. I argued further that feet and legs – be they spindly, black-stockinged St Trinian’s legs, or the tree-trunk legs of the Masters at St Custard’s – were, for Searle, the windows to the soul.

All that may or may not be true, but I discovered a deeper truth when I was reproducing the standard Searle script for the “Entr’-Act” cards for the programme. Apart from the fact that each letter tended to twist my nibs into unusability, I soon realised something about that gnarled, nobbly lettering: that without the way Searle drew and wrote, most of the best British post-war cartooning would be unimaginable. Every line of Steadman’s or Scarfe’s had its origins in Searle’s blots. Those blots had shown us all the true path.

Anyway, we finished the film and it was duly broadcast – though in post-production I felt they added too many interviews about his life, and didn’t concentrate enough on his drawing, but what do I know? The production company sent him the film, and were greeted with silence. But unreciprocity from your gods is what you should expect, so I didn’t mind that much.

But then, a few weeks after the programme’s first transmission, I got a letter, sent to my home, addressed in a strangely familiar handwriting. It was a personal letter from Searle, thanking me for placing the garlands on his brow and apologising for the fact that he’s be dead by the time it was my turn. The letter is now framed and hangs in its place of honour next to the only Searle original my wife could afford to buy me. Better yet, in the few interviews he’s given since, he’s been kind and generous enough to say he likes my work. So happy 90th birthday, Mr Searle, from a very humble and grateful admirer…

Bloghorn thanks The Cartoon Museum and Martin for permission to publish here in advance of tonight’s opening.

by Royston

Hats off to Searle at bookshop exhibition

March 1, 2010 in General

A small exhibition of original cartoons by Ronald Searle, all drawn for for Sarah Kortum’s book The Hatless Man: An Anthology of Odd & Forgotten Manners, is at Maggs Bros Antiquarian Books, 50 Berkeley Square, London from this Wednesday, March 3.

March 3 is the 90th birthday of Searle, and as we mentioned here on the Bloghorn last week, there are also two major exhibitions in London to mark the event. The Hatless Man, which was published in the US in 1995, was a compilation of more than 700 of the most irate and amusing condemnations of impropriety, taken from nearly 200 etiquette books from the 14th Century to the present. It featured 35 Searle drawings. The selling exhibition at Maggs Bros Antiquarian Books runs for three weeks. Visit their website.

Thanks to Anita O’Brien at the Cartoon Museum.