Sunday, May 08, 2016

Singapore exhibition

An exhibition of Ronald Searle's work surrounding his time as a POW in Singapore will be held at the Singapore School of Art & Design, opening June 26th.

More details here

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Misc. America

Here's one I didn't get in the book . . .

Bea Arthur as Maude' for TV Guide magazine

Drawing from the series 'Who Killed Hollywood Society?' for TV Guide

'Beauty Factory' 1991 for TV Guide

I tracked this down at the 11th hour but not the original drawing . . .

Mark Twain for HOLIDAY magazine

'Fremont Street, Las Vegas' is one of hundreds of images in the book. The Neon Museum shared this photo of a similar view from the same year Searle made his drawing (1960) - he may well have sat in the restaurant on the right of the photo to make his field notes.

 The original artwork for the British ed. of 'USA for Beginners' sold at auction recently. It's a beautiful iconic drawing - I don't know who bought it. This spectacular original Searle drawing sold at auction for a high $6250. 'Six Shooter' was originally published in Punch magazine and used as the cover for 'USA For Beginners' (Perpetua, 1959). The cowboy's face is very much like that of Mr. Punch the magazine's mascot and may have started out as a rejected cover design.

A remarkable series of love letters between Searle and American artist Ruth Cyril have appeared on eBay. They are very private and should be in the Searle archive in Hannover but they do offer a perspective on Searle's assignments in America tat I wish I had for the book. There's a more personal angle on the JFK/Nixon campaign tour and some frank thoughts on the Eichmann trial Searle attended in Jerusalem (see previous post on 'Eichmann').

For more on America see also 'FLORIDA'

Tuesday, May 03, 2016


In 1961 Searle was sent on an assignment for Life magazine to cover the trial of Gestapo chief Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Searle was the sole draughtsman among a throng of photographers which is exactly why the magazine wanted his unique perspective. He struggled with the impassive features of the accused, making many sketches, and eventually moving on to the judges and court staff for contextual supporting portraits. However the magazine only used three of the drawings in the final spread.

In a letter signed to his secretary Jean Ellsmore he relates his impression of Adolf Eichmann, "... a pretty cool customer - barely moves an eyebrow in hours. I'm sitting about 10 feet from him all the time - so somehow I should get a likeness!". The modern part of Jerusalem he describes as being "like a slightly oriental Notting Hill Gate." -Jerusalem, Israel, Friday, 14th April, [1961]

Digging through the LIFE Photo Archive I found this image of the journalists assembled at the trial. I believe I identified Searle amongst those gathered which he verified with me when shown the photo.

In correspondence with American artist Ruth Cyril he revealed his true feelings about this assignment:
'The trial - listening to those unspeakable stories for almost a month was alternately unutterably dull and unbearably harrowing. It plunged me into such gloom that O couldn't start on the work for ten days. I simply left the court at the end of each day, ate my Kosher omelette (or what ever the hell it what it was) and crept into bed at 9.0pm wishing myself the hell out of it.'

See more of Searle's court drawing assignments here

Monday, May 02, 2016

Ronald Searle and The Great Fur Opera!

Monday May 2nd 2016 HBC is celebrating its 346th anniversary! See my old post on the amazing book he did for their 300th published in 1970 here

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Le Figaro

As Searle began to branch out into editorial and illustration assignments on the Continent during the 1950s he did several cartoons for French newspaper Le Figaro Littéraire.

Perdu dans le Labyrinthe Londonien, pen and ink, 12 x 13.5", Figaro, 18 February, 1955

Vroomp!!! Crrakk!! Zok!!! (1966)
Pen and wash, 35.2 x 49.1 Collection Monica Searle
Le Figaro Littéraire, October 20, 1966

The Square Egg & The Vicious Circle (1968), Page 15
Ronald Searle (1973) Cabinet des Estampes, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, Catalogue number 153
Searle & Searle (2001), Catalogue number 16, page 39

 From Stephen Nadler's  'Attempted Bloggery' site



Ici Londres N°368 25 Fevrier 1955 - Ronald Searle Maître De L'humour Noir -



Stop, Magazine Arristique et Littéraire N° 72 - Ronald Searle - la Blonde du Texas - Barbarella - la Femme Modele

Friday, April 08, 2016

'Ronald Searle's America' Book Reviews

Thanks to those who have left comments and reviews on both the US and UK Amazon sites- it helps promote the book and support the case for another. You can purchase it at the link on the right or if you've bought it please do consider leaving a review too.

'This is a stunning book, clearly a labour of love. The US-based author, Matt Jones, maintains a consistently interesting Ronald Searle blog. Here he has gathered an astonishing range of Searle's art into a really impressive package. It's beautifully printed and for the most part lets the artist's work do the talking. One reason that it does this so well is that it's BIG! More than 360 whopping pages, with plenty of room to let the drawings breathe. In the UK we usually see Searle associated with St Trinian's, Nigel Molesworth and various wine-drinking felines (and nothing wrong with that per se) but it's refreshing to be led off in a different direction for a change. A real treat, and well worth the price-tag.'  -S. J. Carter

'This great thumping book is an embarrassment of riches! Every page (and there are 350+ of them) dazzles with the genius of Ronald Searle. British fans shouldn't be put off by the American slant. Quite the opposite, in fact, as there'll be loads you haven't seen before, and boy, are you in for a treat! You can lose yourself for hours in the quality of Searle's line (sometimes softened with a subtle wash) and the skill of his composition and the sheer beauty of his draughtsmanship. From the quickest sketchbook thumbnail to the most detailed architectural study serving as a backdrop for some supremely observed character, there seems nothing this man couldn't do. His terrific humour, coupled with an ability to draw like an Old Master, make him, for my money, the most brilliant cartoonist of the last century. This book (which is well-bound, with high production values, by the way) is crammed with examples of his unique talent and we should be grateful to the editor, Matt Jones, for assembling it all for our delight and amazement.' - Colin West

'This book is incredible. I bought it on pre-order because the deal was great - but this book is well worth the 85 dollars listing price. It is GORGEOUS. Both the quality of the printing and the size/weight of the pages is great. But of course MOST importantly - this book is chock-full of beautiful illustrations. Ronald Searle was a wonderfully prolific and hugely inspirational artist, and this book showcases his work beautifully. I suspect I'll be taking this one off the shelf quite often.' - Amazon customer