Saturday, April 17, 2021

Eva and Ulrich Klever's Copy of Ronald Searle's Großes Katzenbuch

Illustrator Ronald Searle's first cartoon cat collection was Searle's Cats (1967). It was followed by More Cats in 1975. In 1982, Ronald Searle's Big Fat Cat Book was published. The German language edition Großes Katzenbuch came out that same year. By coincidence, German journalist and author Ulrich Klever had published an informative book about cats with a similar title. Perhaps he reached out to Searle requesting a signed book, or maybe he sent a copy of his own book. That could explain how it came about, in July of 1983, that Searle inscribed a copy of his book of drawings to Eva and Ulrich Klever, including a fine original cat drawing. Together, the couple had written a book about Fondues. Ulrich had also written a book about walking sticks. Searle surely was aware of all this as he incorporated it in his personalization.

Ronald Searle's Großes Katzenbuch
Inscribed "For Eva & Ulrich/Klever/with best wishes/Ronald Searle/July 1983"

Ronald Searle's Großes Katzenbuch
The illustration is Happy Ending, a hand-colored lithograph from 1975

Back cover

Searle's full page drawing and inscription appears opposite the half title page illustration The Messenger. The first American edition contains no writing on the banner. The auction and lot number are inscribed in pencil on the right.

Happy Birthday to you!
Hand-colored lithograph, 1974

Darling, this is bigger than both of us...
Hand-colored lithograph, 1978

This book, the nicest Big Fat Cat Book I have seen, was sold at auction this past week in Berlin.
Ronald Searle
Galerie Bassenge auction listing
Berlin, April 15, 2021

English rendered from the German by Google Translate

Ronald Searle
Galerie Bassenge auction listing accessed April 11, 2021

There were other, presumably later, German editions of the book. Here's one with Big Show on the cover:

The above German edition is most similar to the book's English language edition which also has The Model on its cover:


Friday, April 16, 2021

Seen and Noted: A Seth Index Card

Seen and noted on eBay:  an index card signed by Seth with a small but vibrant drawing of a female character in profile. Who is she? The collector, Glenn, has apparently filled the margins of the card with extensive notes about Seth's 1996 book It's a Good Life if You Don't Weaken. This is far and away my favorite book of his, for reasons that will be clear to anyone familiar with it.

eBay listing accessed April 16, 2021

eBay item description

Note:  Who, if anyone, is this character?


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The Cartoonstock Caption Contest #122

Remember the Cartoon Collections Caption Contest? I do. I have fond memories of losing all 121 contests. Well, last week Cartoon Collections abruptly began to use Cartoonstock as its principle name. The new moniker packs more punch and the company has kept elements of its desert island logo, so there's not much of a downside. What to call the caption contest now? After racking my brains for the better part of a minute, I came up with the Cartoonstock Caption Contest. For continuity's sake, this is installment #122. My three entries are shown below. In my defense, it's always a challenge to rise to the level of a drawing by Joe Dator.

"We're hosting a Zoom conference."
"I'm afraid I have to cut you off."
"I'm sorry but you don't meet our knees."


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

License Plate for the Gregarious?

Is it fair to guess that this a license plate for a somewhat gregarious individual? I wouldn't know.

New York State license plate


Monday, April 12, 2021

My Entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #751

I'm forever blowing bubbles and so is The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #751 dated April 12, 2021. My caption may be seen below. The drawing is by Lonnie Millsap.

"It sure beats wearing a mask."

These captions didn't roll:
"Now I'm sorry I got vaccinated."
"Got a pin?"


Sunday, April 11, 2021

Arthur Rackham's Bird Drawing

A pen and ink drawing of a bird made for his nephew in 1931 by Arthur Rackham is offered by Meier and Sons Rare Books of New Canaan, Connecticut. The flowing drawing has decidedly calligraphic qualities.

Arthur Rackham
AbeBooks Listing accessed April 18, 2020

In the year since I archived this listing, the price has been reduced by $100.


Saturday, April 10, 2021

Arthur Rackham: Peter Pan Passed Under the Bridge

The Peter Pan of J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (1906) is not the older boy of the familiar stage play but a seven-day old infant. The book is sumptuously illustrated by Arthur Rackham. An original watercolor from the book held by Peter Harrington of London shows young Peter Pan navigating toward the Gardens in his sailing nest ship built especially for him by the thrushes.

Arthur Rackham
Peter Harrington listing accessed April 9, 2021


Friday, April 9, 2021

Arthur Rackham: Off With His Head!

From the archives of Christie's New York in 2009 comes a breathtaking copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (the 1907 edition) by Lewis Carroll. The book has an original ink and watercolor drawing by illustrator Arthur Rackham. The drawing depicts the bloodthirsty Queen of Hearts ordering the beheading of the Cheshire Cat, a floating, disembodied head.

Arthur Rackham
Christie's New York, December 4, 2009


Thursday, April 8, 2021

Arthur Rackham: The Robber Bridegroom

Arthur Rackham's original illustration for the Brothers Grimm story "The Robber Bridegroom" depicts the miller's daughter meeting an old woman in the cellar kitchen where she will soon have to hide from her bridegroom-to-be and his murderous band. The three bottles in the center contain the three different varieties of wine that play so gruesome a role in the story. Rackham, as is his wont, goes to extremes in contrasting the bride's beauty and the old woman's haggardness. How differently he handles their figures, posture, and garb, yet they are allies in the story. Rackham shades the brick floor with a loose hatching technique while the dark wall features elaborate crosshatching.

At last she reached the cellar, and there she found
an old, old woman with a shaking head.
Arthur Rackham

Arthur Rackham
AbeBooks listing accessed April 7, 2021