Earlier this month I visited Ronald Searle ‘Obsessed with drawing’ at The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. It is a brilliant exhibition, I had an interest in his work to begin with but I learnt so much more about him by visiting the show!
Firstly, I did not even realise he was born in Cambridge and rather aptly, used to visit The Fitzwilliam during his youth.
When you think of Searle’s work, you might think of his St. Trinian’s or his animal illustrations, however, Searle worked across a range of different genres. In this exhibition you can see examples of his work as a war artist. In contrast to this are Searle’s illustrations for books, magazines, theatre, film and political satire. Before visiting the exhibition I was unaware how much Searle’s style varied throughout his career.
For me, one of the highlights of the show is Trafalgar Square: ‘The People of Porridge Island’, 1951 – I love the detail of this image, lots of things going on, but even the characters in the background are part of the story being told.
I was really drawn to the vibrancy of the colours used in some of the illustrations, the catalogue images do not do them justice, something you must see in person! Examples of this are Molesworth, 1999 and Raven with Parachute, 1990.
A must-see for anyone interested in illustration! The exhibition runs until 31st January 2016