After much media hoopla, Private Eye: The First 50 Years opened at the Victoria & Albert museum in South Kensington, London, yesterday. The exhibition will run until January 8.
The free exhibition explores the wealth of artistic talent that the magazine has showcased since 1961 and features original artwork for some of the funniest Private Eye cartoons.
Cartoonist Nathan Ariss attended the private view. He writes:
“According to one insider it was ‘the most fun’ the reverent halls had witnessed in decades. Yes, the PE PV at the V&A was AOK, and deemed a rather fine night indeed.
“A [insert collective noun here] of cartoonists were interspersed with some serious marble statues and seriously well-off people and then somewhat embarrassed by a warm and gracious speech from the Editor, [Is this guy after an OBN? – Ed], Ian Hislop, who paid full tribute to the importance that cartoons have played in the magazine’s success.
“I imagine the exhibition will be equally as enjoyable as all the sparkling repartee and champagne on the night itself, but I’m afraid I became somewhat tired and emoticon as the night wore on. Thankfully the exhibition is still on until the new year.”
Many cartoonists started their careers at the magazine, and they can be seen in this show, including Gerald Scarfe, Ralph Steadman, Willie Rushton, Barry Fantoni, Nick Newman and Michael Heath
There are lots of cartoons in the show by members of the PCO, which runs the Bloghorn, such as Andrew Birch, Wilbur Dawbarn, Neil Dishington, Pete Dredge, Len Hawkins, Martin Honeysett, Tony Husband, Ed McLachlan, Alexander Matthews, Ken Pyne, above, Royston Robertson, Mike Turner, and the PCO patron Bill Tidy.
The cartoons are in themed sections, on politics, royalty and social observation. There are single-panel cartoons, long-running strips and caricatures.
Hislop has chosen 50 of the best front covers, one from every year the magazine has been published. The exhibition also evokes the atmosphere of the magazine’s Soho office, with a recreation of the Editor’s desk, right, and a messy production table.
Here’s a round-up of some of the many Private Eye: The First 50 Years features you can currently see on the net:
A behind the scenes look at the production of the Eye, including a video of how a Ken Pyne cartoon progresses from idea to page, can be seen on the V&A site.
The Private Eye blog has a piece on putting the exhibition together.
Fifty years of Private Eye as seen by The Wall Street Journal …
… and by Creative Review.
And finally, to coincide with the 50th celebrations, the Chris Beetles Gallery has an online exhibition selling artwork by Private Eye cartoonists.
October 19, 2011 1 Comment
Rob Murray writes:
US cartoonist Ted Rall, who put himself up for sale on eBay earlier this month, has written about how his left-wing views have seen him dropped by even left-leaning publications. In an opinion piece titled Rise of the Obamabots, he recounts some of the rejections he’s received from left-of-centre magazines and argues that the US press is so enamoured with Barack Obama that “there’s less room for a leftie during the Age of Obama than there was under Bush”.
Bloghorn also spotted an opportunity for cartoon fans to become part of Scott Adams’ Dilbert strip. Readers can upload photos of themselves and personalise one of 25 strips online, replacing one of the regular characters and becoming part of the action.
Closer to home, a selection of work by the profilic cartoonist and illustrator Ern Shaw (1891-1986) will be auctioned off next month. Hull-born Shaw had a career spanning more than 60 years, in which he is thought to have had around 25,000 cartoons published in newspapers and magazines, as well as illustrating children’s books and card games. More information on the sale can be found at the website of the auctioneers Dee Atkinson & Harrison.
Bloghorn says, if there is anything big we have missed please do tell us in the comments below
May 27, 2011 1 Comment
A new addition to this years recent Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival was the presence of a team from the magazine Reader’s Digest. From a stall in the town’s Square, the focus of many of the festival’s activities, the Reader’s Digest team engaged members of the public to try their hand at a popular Digest competition, Beat the Cartoonist.
Thankfully, this didn’t involve any physical violence towards the assembled cartoonists, as entrants were asked to provide their own captions to a series of cartoons from the magazine. With prizes that included the signed and framed original artwork, £100, subscription to the magazine and a goody bag, this was unsurprisingly a successful event, as there were more than 1,000 entries over the course of the weekend.
Bloghorn‘s own Royston Robertson was one of the cartoonists who had a drawing used in the contest. He said: “It was great to hear that people responded to the contest in such great numbers. More proof, as if it was needed, that people love cartoons, and a great interactive element for the festival.”
The Digest also hosted a free talk and advice session at Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn, titled ‘What makes a good cartoon?’ Cartoon editor Steve Way and design director Martin Colyer, along with the magazine’s editor Gill Hudson, talked a packed room through the submission process and discussed some of the factors that may influence their decision to accept or reject a particular cartoon.
The Digest team took questions from the floor and ran through some of the cartoons that have recently appeared in the magazine, after which there was an opportunity for aspiring cartoonists to show their portfolios and receive targeted advice.
*For those of you squinting to read the winning captions in the photo above, they read as follows (l-r): “Shouldn’t we be squeezing the silly banker instead of stretching him?” – Pete Yearsley; “I told you not to get this sat nav from the 99p store!” – Luke Grint, 11 yrs; “If we find the sixpence we can hire a sunshade too” – Janet Bell. The cartoons are by Simon Meyrick-Jones, Paul Wood and Royston Robertson.
Thanks to Rob Murray and Ger Whyman for help in writing this post.
April 26, 2011 No Comments
Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival kicks off tonight with a drop-in cartoon workshop at the Bear Steps Gallery at 4.30pm, and a talk by Dr Nick Hiley from the British Cartoon Archive on the cartoons of Carl Giles at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery at 7pm, tickets £5.
In the meantime, the exhibition Personal Bests opened on Monday (also at the Bear Steps Gallery) and features cartoons on the Festival’s Olympic theme, including these:
Come back to Bloghorn for coverage of the festival as it happens, or follow the hashtag #shrews11 on Twitter.
April 14, 2011 No Comments
The Chris Beetles Gallery of St James’s, London, is taking its collection of cartoons up the A1 to Nunnington Hall, near York, for a selling exhibition entitled Three Centuries of Cartoon Art which opens tomorrow (April 12).
Cartoon art spanning the ages will be on view, starting with Thomas Rowlandson from the 18th century, through 19th century greats such as Tenniel and on to the 20th century, with such big names as Searle, Thelwell, above, and Larry.
Members of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation, which runs the Bloghorn, feature in the show, including Andy Davey, Martin Honeysett, Tony Husband, above, Ed McLachlan, Royston Robertson, Kipper Williams and Mike Williams.
Tony Husband will open the event, talking about his life in cartooning while illustrating this with spontaneous cartoons. For more details, and to see the full exhibition online, visit the Chris Beetles website
April 11, 2011 No Comments
As Prince William and Kate Middleton prepare to tie the knot on April 29, Marriage à la Mode: Royals and Commoners In and Out of Love promises “a bouquet of barbed wit” on the subject of marriage.
It will feature musings on matrimony from cartoonists past and present, including William Hogarth, who created a series of works that give the show its name, James Gillray, H.M. Bateman, Donald McGill, Carl Giles, Mel Calman, Ralph Steadman and Posy Simmonds.
The Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation, which runs the Bloghorn, is represented with cartoons by Steve Bell, Rupert Besley, Noel Ford, Martin Honeysett, Ken Pyne, below, Royston Robertson, and Bill Stott.
Despite being its inspiration, the royal couple are unlikely to give the show their seal of approval. As well as looking at some of the less successful aspects of marriage, some cartoons remind us of a certain royal wedding from 30 years ago that did not go too well, as seen in this 1995 Time magazine cartoon by Arnold Roth, right.
William and Kate may also not want to be associated with the work of Reg Smythe, who features in the exhibition and is famous for creating the less-than-idyllic marriage of Andy Capp and Flo.
Other cartoonists featured include Ros Asquith, Ian Baker, Biff, Nicholas Garland, Grizelda, Peter “Pak” King, David Langdon, Peter Schrank, Geoff Thompson, and Robert Thompson.
For more details visit the museum website. Marriage à la Mode runs until May 22, by which time those commemorative royal wedding tea towels may well be frayed at the edges.
March 21, 2011 No Comments
Whenever the media spotlight is turned on cartoons it is often those of a political variety. These cartoons shout the loudest and have news impact. But Bloghorn writer Royston Robertson thinks it’s time to speak up for its more modest cousin: the gag cartoon.
I have been drawing gag cartoons for the magazine market for about 15 years. I love the process of coming up with new ideas and, hopefully, getting them published.
Recently I’ve been sifting through my drawings from magazines such as Reader’s Digest and Private Eye in order to put together a book collection. I’m not friends with any famous people so I had to write my own foreword for the book and decided to to put down exactly what it is I like so much about gag cartoons as a medium. This was the crux of piece:
“The single-panel joke is a perfect, self-contained unit of comedy, an instant hit of humour that doesn’t demand much of your time.”
I once heard the writer Will Self describe gags as “the haiku of cartoons”. That may sound a little pretentious (from Will Self? Surely not?) but I think it’s true.
A gag cartoon is like a poem. Or a one-liner joke, perhaps. It is a small, carefully crafted article. It doesn’t have the grandeur or the, let’s be honest, occasional self-importance of the political cartoon, but it is still designed to provoke a reaction: hopefully laughter.
I have heard some claim that the gag cartoon is in some way an old-fashioned form. This is probably because it is so closely connected with magazines, so people think of crumpled, yellowing copies of Punch in the dentist’s waiting room.
Plus, magazines and newspapers are “dead-tree technology”, and that, we are constantly being told, is on the way out. But, when you think about it, the gag cartoon is actually perfectly suited for this age of the short attention-span and sits just as easily on a web page, or an iPad app, as a magazine page. And long may it continue to do so.
March 16, 2011 5 Comments
One of Bloghorn’s regular contributors, Royston Robertson has a cartoon in a rather unusual exhibition. The Great Wall of Ramsgate is a 1000ft-long temporary wall that’s been erected around the site of an old amusement park during redevelopment. In an effort to brighten it up a bit, local artists, photographers and cartoonists have been invited to add their own contribution, in the shape of a series of 4ft by 8ft boards.
Royston’s no stranger to working on such a large scale, having drawn for the Big Boards at Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival in 2007 and 2008, and was on the team representing Bloghorn at this year’s Battle of the Cartoonists. Keep your eye on Bloghorn for news on the cartoonists who’ll be Big Boarding at this year’s Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival in April.
Martin Rowson, who produced one of last years Big Boards at Shrewsbury, will be speaking at the Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, London W2 1QJ next week on the subject of Caricatures and Commentary. Tickets are available for the event on Tuesday 1st February, 7-9pm, priced £12.50 (£10 for early birds, £8 for concessions) here.
January 28, 2011 No Comments
The cartoonist Gerald Scarfe has made a list of his ten favourite cartoonists, for the Daily Mail website. It includes some inarguable choices as well as some surprising ones.
Ronald Searle, widely regarded as Britain’s best living cartoonist, is on there. There are also choices from the worlds of fine art, such as Picasso, and film-making, which is represented by Walt Disney, more for his skill at getting great work from others than his own drawing talents.
We asked members of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation, which runs the Bloghorn, to name their favourite cartoonists not on the Scarfe list. It’s not a poll, or a “top ten”, just an informal list of another ten great artists, and it shows the wealth of variety and creativity to be found in the world of cartooning.
1. Hector Breeze (Born 1928). Picked by Pete Dredge: “A master of the pocket cartoon. Out of the mouths of his mundane, benign, chunkily drawn characters comes the sharpest of captions.”
2. Robert Crumb (Born 1943). Picked by Royston Robertson: “He has been satirising the way we live since the 1960s with his dense, inky, cross-hatched drawings, displaying human folly in all its gory glory. Not for nothing was he described by the art critics Robert Hughes as ‘the Bruegel of the last half of the 20th century’.”
3. George Grosz (1893-1959). Picked by Matt Buck and Andrew Birch (both blatantly ignoring the brief of people not on Scarfe’s list, Bloghorn notes!) Matt says: “Grosz drew with an unsparing eye and produced powerful reflections of what people do rather than what they say they do.” Andrew adds: “For me German Expressionism was one of the most important art movements of the 20th century, whose brutal and honest line laid the foundation for many later cartoonists like Steadman.”
4. William Heath Robinson (1872-1944). Picked by Rupert Besley: “He was an original, creating a wonderful, instantly recognisable world of his own. He satirised the growth of mechanisation, but did so in a gloriously enjoyable way that always kept the human at the centre of it all. Which other cartoonist has added his name to the language and booked his place in every dictionary?”
5. George Herriman (1880-1944). Picked by Wilbur Dawbarn: “From the gorgeously scratchy line work and absolute poetry of the writing in the early years, to the sheer majesty of composition in the latter years, Herriman’s Sunday Krazy Kat pages are, to my mind, some of the finest examples of comic art ever penned.”
6. Trevor Holder, aka “Holte” (Born 1941). Picked by Roger Penwill: “Glorious technique, a master of expressive line and a very funny, wicked sense of humour. Some of his cartoons are timeless classics.”
7. Bernard Kliban (1935-1990). Picked by Chris Madden: “I came across a book by B. Kliban: Cat Dreams. I’m not sure what they’re about. I’m not even sure if they’re funny (do cartoons actually have to be funny?) But they’re brilliant. Apparently he grew to detest drawing cats in the end, but they were what everybody wanted. Beware success.”
8. David Law (1908-1971). Picked by Steve Bright: “Beautifully fluid and loose line, amazing perspectives and angles, and the master of life and motion in all that he drew. Law inspired millions of kids to pick up a pencil through his marvellous work in the Beano, Dandy and Topper.”
9. Phil May (1864-1903). Picked by Mike Turner: “A breakthrough in culling captions down to a minimum. Great art, brilliant caricatures, sheer good humour relating to ‘the man in the street’ or the ‘man on the horse-drawn omnibus’
10. Bill Tidy (Born 1933). Picked by Bill Stott: “For his excellent gags and consummate drawing, especially in his history-based stuff.”
What do you think of the list? Got a favourite cartoonist you’d like to add to it? Let us know in the comments below.
January 19, 2011 6 Comments
The magazine’s website shop has been carrying a “sold out” notice for some days now – proof, if it were needed, of the enduring popularity of cartoons as a way of spreading cheer.
Every year the magazine sells packs of 12 Christmas cards, featuring colour cartoons by 12 different artists. This year four of those were by members of the PCO, which runs The Bloghorn: Noel Ford,
Ed McLachlan, Royston Robertson, and Mike Turner.
*December 21 for First Class, December 18 for Second, since you ask.
December 13, 2010 1 Comment