Sunday, April 19, 2015


Searle relaxes off-set with Sandra Alfred during the filming of 'The Belles of St. Trinian's' (1954)

Searle and his first wife Kaye Webb on the set of  'The Belles of St. Trinian's' (1954) with actress Joyce Grenfell.

Ronald sketches British starlet Sabrina on the set of 'Blue Murder at St. Trinians'. 'If you look at the CREDITS, you'd think Sabrina was the star : in the opening credits she was billed as "Guest Artiste" and in the end credits, she billed just after Alistair Sim. However, in spite of the film's publicity stills showing her in uniform, she never got out of bed (in in this case, gentlemen, that is not a good thing.) And she never said a word. Featuring as the school swot, she lounges with a good book as a JEWEL THIEF and several policemen revolve around her. It's unfortunate that the plot did not do the same.' -

Searle with actress Lisa Gastoni

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Mirror & Echo

The UK National Archives online database has some early Searle cartoons here. The drawings are credited as having been published in the 'Mirror & Echo' and 'Blick in die Welt'. They are particularly interesting for their relevance to Searle's wartime experience and the culture he returned to after surviving incarceration as a POW of the Japanese.

The 'General Collapse' series would most certainly have been based on Searle's wartime experience. His POW 'gag' sketchbooks contain many sketches poking at the officer class and the clueless privates.

'Not having the tourist mind' is a light-hearted, series of tableau on a theme that Searle explored on other occasions throughout his career- the hapless tourist - most notably the 'Mrs. Dyson' series for Punch magazine in the late 1950s.

'German soldier and French couple in farmyard.'
Without his signature I struggle to authenticate this as Searle although it does bear some similarities to the style he employed for illustrations made for the Radio Times in the late forties.

'Do you hate the people you draw '
An early self caricature reflecting on the savagery of his cartooning.

 'Family bugbear'
This appears to be another self-caricature and, I would say, a representation of Searle's first wife Kaye Webb. Out of context it seems to depict domestic tension of some kind but it's hard to say without the accompanying article. To continue the self referential symbolism are the slanted eyes of the male figure a racist remark? Is it the smoking? Are those unpaid bills on the table?

Two pictures follow of certain dubious racial stereotypes and again it's hard to decipher the 'oriental man' leaving the house without his trousers!

'Oriental man leaving house Artist'

'Oriental man using chopsticks'

 'Mord in der Stube'

Illustration for Joyce Carey's Bush River