Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Happy 90th Birthday, Ronald Searle!

Ronald Searle, the greatest living cartoonist, celebrated his 90th birthday yesterday. I've always loved Searle's work since seeing his Molesworth illustrations (particularly of the life and habits of the Gerund) at school . His most famous drawings are probably his St. Trinian's cartoons, though many may also know him for his earlier, more serious work as an unofficial war artist from when he was a prisoner in Changi. Since Searle has the good taste to live within easy reach of a number of vineyards, I've uploaded some of his wine-themed cartoons.

I love the billowy stomach set against the flat, stiff limbs in the drawing above.

At some restaurants the wine is treated with such reverence and ceremony that the wine list might as well be delivered by the 'High Priest'.

Love the use of straight lines and diagonals to emphasise the force here. I've only just noticed the pot-bellied bloke at far right, ogling the woman sitting opposite him.

'Ah, my Beloved, fill the cup...' A really beautiful drawing that proves that not drawing a line can be as effective as drawing one. As always the thickness of the line adds weight and tone.

This one's one of my all-time favourites. I love the impression on the waiter's face. He looks like he'll still pour a glass for the unfortunate guest.

The seated couple are so delightfully ugly in this one. Note the layers of fat, the dozy expressions, the many chins, the snout-like noses and the slightly exposed nipples.

'A jug of wine, a loaf of bread and Thou...'