Friday, March 13, 2020

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Punch Cartoons 1950 - 1959

Well, it's been a busy week in the world (pandemic, stock market plunge, too many cartoonists dying) and here at the Mike Lynch studio. I did a career day and am working a large project that I have to finish today. I'm thankful the good ol' Dick Buchanan has sent on a great old batch of Punch cartoons to share. Not only that, he has researched these British cartoonists, who may not be as well known to us. Some great cartoons here, as well as great information. (Leslie Starke's cartoon has long been one of my all-time favorite wordless gag cartoons.) Wow! Thank you, Professor Buchanan and take it away!


Punch Cartoons

Every once in a while, the Clip File crew turns its attention to the ink slingers on the other side of the Atlantic. Punch published the first cartoon in 1843 and for more than a century the very best cartoonists appeared in its pages. As you might imagine, the Cartoon Clip File is bulging with cartoons clipped from pages of Punch. Here a few cartoons by Punch cartoonists of the 1950’s.

Spoiler Alert: British cartoons are pretty much like American ones—some are funny, some not so much. These are mostly funny. Put your spectacles on and take a look . . .

1. SHEILA DUNN. During the mid-century, women cartoonists were as scarce in London as they were in New York but Sheila Dunn was one who managed to succeed. Punch December 27, 1950.

 2. DAVID LANGDON. Langdon was invited to join Punch in 1937, the when cartoon styles were changing. He concentrated on pure humour at a time when the simplified drawing and the short caption were taking over from stylized drawing and laborious captions. Punch August 13, 1950.

3. IONICUS. Joshua Armitage adopted the pen name “Ionicus” to distinguish his light-hearted work from his more serious oil painting. Punch November 11, 1950.

4. LESLIE STARKE. After have cartoons rejected by every cartoon editor in London, Starke decided to try The New Yorker. His first submission resulted in a sale which appeared in the New Yorker in 1947. He soon was appearing in all the British magazines. Punch December 20, 1950.

5. RUSSELL BROCKBANK. Brockbank drew his first car at the age of 4 and became world renowned for his motoring, motor racing and aviation cartoons. He was art editor of Punch from 1949 to 1960. Punch July 6, 1951.

"While you're about it, ask him if he knows a good place for lunch"

6. BERNARD HOLLOWOOD. Hollywood was one of a vanishing breed—the self-taught artist. He was editor of Punch from 1957 to 1968. Punch December 5, 1951.

7. SIGGS. L.L. (Lawrie) Siggs appeared in The New Yorker twice but he was a frequent contributor to Collier’s and The Saturday Evening Post. Punch January 16, 1952

8. KENNETH MAHOOD. Like many of his fellow Punch cartoonists, Mahood also aspired to be a serious artist, becoming a successful abstract painter. Punch September 10, 1952.

9. ANTON. Antonia Yoeman was the other woman cartoonist who appeared in Punch. Beginning in the late 1930’s Yoeman and her brother teamed to produce cartoons signed Anton. Yoeman continued alone after 1949. Punch Almanack for 1953 November 3, 1952.

10. GEORGE SPROD. Sprod was in a Japanese prisoner of war camp during WWII. Many prisoners kept a diary but Sprod felt he wasn’t a writer so he turned to drawing. Punch Almanack for 1953 November 3, 1952. [George Sprod's nephew has a some video here and tells the story of his uncle lying about his age to join the army, tells the story of his 3 1/2 years in a POW camp and shows many drawings of his here.]

11. SMILBY. In 1951 Francis Wilford-Smith was awarded a £100 Punch scholarship, offered to encourage young cartoonists, and within six months drawings appeared in Punch, Lilliput, London Opinion and Men Only. Punch June 17, 1953.

"I just don't know how they can live in this heat."

12. RONALD SEARLE. Searle is fondly remembered as creator of St Trinian's School a gag cartoon series about a girl’s school where sadistic teachers met their match by a bunch of juvenile delinquents. Punch. June 24, 1957.

13. GEORGE ADAMSON. Adamson was born in the Bronx, U.S.A. and arrived in London via Bombay, India. His first Punch cartoon appeared in 1939, launching a career that spanned half a century. Punch April 30, 1958

"I'll take the giant size."

14. ERIC BURGIN. Burgin began drawing while in the RAF during WWII, but returned to his factory job after the war. His first Punch cartoon was published in 1951 and he became a full-time cartoonist in 1953. Punch October 29, 1958.

15. FFOLKES. At the age of 17 Brian Davis sold his first drawing to Punch in 1942, signing it "brian". He went on to study painting at the Chelsea School of Art later adopted "Michael Ffolkes" as his artistic name, becoming a professional cartoonist in 1949. Punch September 30, 1959. 

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