Ronald Searle Dead

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by BaronBoy, Jan 4, 2012.

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  1. Mods, not sure if this is the right place or if it has already been posted. If so please take appropriate action.

    I have just read that Ronald Searle has died in France at the age of 91. Always enjoyed his work which will be sadly missed.

    From the Channel 9 web site in Australia:

    Ronald William Fordham Searle was born in Cambridge on March 3, 1920. He was drawing creatively at the age of five and professionally at 15.

    He became the cartoonist for the Cambridge Daily News, and began a series of 195 weekly cartoons, each of which paid more than a week's salary at the parcel packing business where he had earlier worked.

    On the outbreak of World War II he enlisted in the Royal Engineers and trained for two years in the UK. In 1941 he published the first St Trinian's cartoon in the magazine Lilliput.

    That year he was posted to Singapore, but one month after his arrival, Singapore surrendered to the Japanese and he spent the rest of the hostilities as a prisoner-of-war.

    Even though he was the victim, observer and recorder of atrocities, diseases and deaths, he never stopped drawing, despite beatings, bouts of malaria and beri beri. Once a Japanese guard embedded a pickaxe in his back.

    His graphic, grim drawings of camp life were often hidden under the mattresses of prisoners suffering from cholera.

    He was liberated in 1945 and published the surviving drawings in fellow prisoner Russell Braddon's account of his own captivity The Naked Island.

    Once Braddon said of him: "If you can imagine something that weighs six stone or so, is on the point of death and has no qualities of the human condition that aren't revolting, calmly lying there with a pencil and a scrap of paper, drawing, you have some idea of the difference of temperament that this man had from the ordinary human being."

    In the 1950s, after failure with two books immediately on demobilisation, Searle produced an extraordinary body of work: drawings for Punch, cartoons for Tribune, the Sunday Express and the News Chronicle, along with more St Trinian books. He created animation for Walt Disney and advertisements, too.

    In a remarkably short time he had become one of the foremost illustrators in the UK.

    In 1961, he left a note for his wife Kaye Webb (whom he had married in 1947) and their twins and left for Paris to begin a new life. This was where his Anatomies and Decapitations came to light - a series of 173 violent and disturbing paintings.

    He had gone to Paris partly to marry Monica Koenig, a woman he had met earlier. But he continued his work, including cat books, animation for films and designs for medals.

    In 1971, he became the first non-French living artist to exhibit at the Bibliotheque Nationale. Four years later the Searles left Paris to a new and more secluded life in Haute-Provence.

    One friend said of him: "His bite and his bark were ferocious, but always delivered with a wink."

    I did have a look on that forum but must have missed the post - it was late at night when I posted - sorry.
     
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