Saturday, 2 June 2012

Britain is still a county for and said "Happy Birthday" to an old caricaturist called Gerald Scarfe

Gerald, who was born 3 years before the outbreak of the Second World War, was 76 years old yesterday.


What you possibly didn't know about Gerald, that he :

* was born in St John's Wood, London, severely asthmatic as a child, spent many of his early years bed-ridden and drew as a means of entertainment and creative outlet and it has been suggested that the grotesque and diseased images which characterise his work are a result of these experiences.

* as a teenager was influenced by the work of cartoonist Ronald Searle and studied at Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design, the London College of Printing and also East Ham Technical College.

*  briefly worked in advertising, then produced illustrations for 'Punch' magazine and newspapers including 'The Sunday Times' and his caricatures of public figures were published in satirical magazine, 'Private Eye', where I first saw them, throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

*  was approached to work with the band, 'Pink Floyd' after Roger Waters and Nick Mason saw his animated film , 'A Long Dawn Out trip' :
and their 1974 programme for their tour in Britain and USA, in the form of a comic, included a centre-spread caricature of the band.

*  produced a set of animated short clips used on the 1977 'In the Flesh' tour including a music video for the song, 'Welcome to the Machine'

*  drew the cover illustration for Floyd's 1979 album, 'The Wall' and in 1982 worked on the film version with his artwork and animation, including a sequence depicting the German bombing campaign over England during The Second World War, set to the song, 'Goodbye Blue Sky'
and was involved in The Wall concert in Berlin where his animations were projected on a vast scale.

* continued to work with Roger Waters when he left Pink Floyd, creating the graphics and animation for Waters' solo album, 'The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking' and its supporting tour in 1984.

* provided caricatures of the actors in the opening and closing sequences of the 38 episodes of 1980's tv series, 'Yes Minister' and 'Yes Prime Minister'.

* had his caricatures of Cooper, Morecombe, Grenfell, Dawson and Cook featured on a set of 5 stamps commemorating British comedians in 1998.

*  designed sets for the operatic productions and adaption of Roald Dahl's, 'Fantastic Mr Fox'.

*  worked with Peter Hall on his version of Mozart's, 'The Magic Flute'and also designed the sets and costumes for the English National Opera's 1988 production of 'Orpheus in the Underworld'.



* in 2003, collaborated with the National Portait Gallery and BBC Four and to make caricatures of 30 famous Britons, to depict, along with guest commentary, their heroic and villainous attributes.

* last year, had a fossil pterosaur discovered in Dorset, named 'Cuspicephalus scarfi' in his honour because the pointy-headed prehistoric flying reptile reminded scientists of his caricature of ex Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as a "Torydactyl".

*  said : "I'm thrilled and flattered - I never thought Mrs Thatcher would do anything for me - even if it is to be immortalised as a 155-million-year-old fossil. I have spent many holidays in Kimmeridge and to think my namesake was buried beneath my feet is wonderfully bizarre."
is married to Jane Asher, whom he met in 1971 and married in 1981 and has a daughter and two sons..

*  has his website at :

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