Thursday, 3 March 2011

Britain says "Happy Birthday" to its old and greatest cartoonist called called Ronald Searle

Ronald Searle who was born 91 years ago today in Cambridge, is best known as the creator of 'St Trinian's School' and co-author of the 'Molesworth' series.

What you probably didn't know about Ronald, that :

* his father was a porter at Cambridge Railway Station and he started drawing at and left school at the age of 15.

* trained at Cambridge College of Arts and Technology and in 1941, published the first St Trinian's cartoon and started work as a war artist in 1942 and was stationed in Singapore.

* when Singapore was taken by the Japanese, was captured and spent the rest of the War a prisoner in Changi Prison and then in the Kwai Jungle, working on the Siam-Burma 'Death Railway'.

* documented the brutal camp conditions in a series of drawings which he hid under the mattresses of prisoners dying of cholera.

* liberated in 1945, he returned to England where he published several of the surviving drawings in fellow prisoner Russell Braddon's 'The Naked Island'.

* about 300 of his War drawings are in the permanent collection of the Imperial War Museum, London.

* in the 1950's He compiled more St Trinian's books, which were based on his sister's and other girls' schools in Cambridge.

* in 1961 he moved to Paris, where he produced books, animated films and sculpture for commemorative medals for the French Mint and the British Art Medal Society.

* did a lot of designing for the cinema and in 1965, created the opening, intermission and closing credits for the popular comedy film 'Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines.'

* in 1975 the full-length cartoon 'Dick Deadeye' his animations were considered by some to be his greatest achievement, although Searle himself detested the result.

* in 2010 he gave about 2,200 of his works as permanent loans to the 'Deutsches Museum für Karikatur und Zeichenkunst' in Germany.

* lives in Fraqnce and in 2007 he was decorated with France's highest award, the 'Légion d'honneur' and in 2009 he received the 'German Order of Merit.'

A Life in pictures from 'The Guardian' :

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