RONALD SEARLE (1920 – 2011): Portrait of an Officer – H.Q. 18th Division, 1940s

Ronald Searle (1920 – 2011): Portrait of an Officer H.Q. 18th Division – An original caricature style portrait drawing. The drawing is in ink on paper. Signed to lower left artwork.

Dimensions 23cm high x 18cm wide

Condition report: In overall good condition , some handling creases and foxing (see images).


The Artist

Ronald William Fordham Searle CBE (1920-2011) was a hugely influential artist, illustrator and cartoonist. His work as the creator of St Trinian’s is probably his most famous but over a career that spanned nine decades, he worked on a vast number of projects. Searle came from humble beginnings, he began drawing aged 5 but upon leaving school at 14, he worked for the Co-Op. Searle, however, continued taking evening classes to further his education. His talent was spotted after he submitted cartoons to a local Cambridge newspaper and he won a full time scholarship.

With the onset of the Second World War, Searle then aged 19, enlisted with the Royal Engineers. In 1942 he was serving in Asia and was captured during the fall of Singapore. He was held as a prisoner of war from 1942 to 1945. Under extremely harrowing and brutal conditions Searle continued to draw – his archive of almost 300 drawings is an important first hand record of life in the prison camp – the collection is now held by the Imperial War Museum. This Ronald Searle portrait we believe was created during his service in the 1940s.

Ronald Searle returned to Britain in 1945 and began producing St. Trinians (characters he had first drawn some years earlier – a St Trinian sketch was first published in Lilliput in 1941). His work began gaining recognition and he worked during the post war period as a cartoonist for many publications including Punch and Lilliput.

By the early 1960s Searle had relocated to France, and began to work more as a painter. His 1965 illustrations for Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines are some of the most recognisable of the era.

Ronald Searle’s drawings had an enormous influence on his contemporaries – John Lennon amongst them, who said of him in 1968 “I started trying to draw like Ronald Searle when I was about eight. So there was Jabberwocky and Ronald Searle I was turning into by the time I was thirteen”.

To read more about the artist see.

Further pieces relating to Ronald Searle are available in our store, see. RONALD SEARLE: A signed first edition copy of “This England 1946 – 1949”

Dimensions: 23cm high x 18cm wide


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Condition Report: In overall good condition , some handling creases and foxing (see images).

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