Monday, March 05, 2012
When Ronald Searle died at the end of last year, he was ably and copiously obituaried in every major publication of note and bloggers with far more knowledge and understanding of his work paid their own, sometimes very heartfelt tributes. On the BBC's Antiques Roadshow tonight, (a recording R and I attended, although this time we don't appear on screen at any point), they filmed a woman who had a handful of Searle's cartoons, done when he was a Japanese prisoner of war, all of which were light-hearted depictions of life back in Blighty. The segment was made more poignant still since he had not died at the time is was recorded. It put me in mind of this illustration which, despite not being a Searle connoisseur, I have always thought the most powerful image of his I have ever seen. The play is about prisoners of war and Searle witnessed and experienced the full horror of the Japanese internment camps: unlke the cartoons shown today on the television, this illustration appears to draw directly from the experience.