The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

March 3, 2016

March 3, 1920

Russell Davies is the author of 'Ronald Searle: A Biography’ and probably the source of the epithet that Searle was "'easily the greatest cartoonist of the 20th century' .  This assessment of Ronald Searle (March 3, 1920 to December 30, 2011) was not an understatement.

I like this picture of his home in southern France:

Ronald Searle defended himself implacably against the intrusions of the world. To divulge his address in the little hill-village of Tourtour would have been a sin. His telephone number was not circulated, so his fax-machine – an industrial-sized apparatus capable of sending fine-line drawings to distant newspapers – was the only way in. Children under 18 were not permitted on his premises. Nor were specks of dust, or flies (especially not flies), or the rings of moisture that champagne glasses might leave behind. Champagne was, however, plentifully dispensed. It was advisable not to bring Ronald any, since most of the well-known marques were not to his taste, and it was in any case impossible to compete with the Roederer Cristal he invariably uncorked.

Such are the rewards of a life in cartooning, which this New Yorker cover typifies:

Some contended his native country did not appreciate him:

He drew a weekly political cartoon for French newspaper Le Monde until 2007, a year after he was awarded the Légion d’Honneur, the highest French decoration, while Britain had awarded him a solitary CBE in 2004.

He felt no bitterness to his home country, but it is telling that he has left his archive to the Wilhelm-Busch Museum in Hanover, Germany, where his work is hugely revered.

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