Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"Party Cat" by Ronald Searle

This languorous "Party Cat" by Ronald Searle captures the seasonal atmosphere of festivity and overindulgence. Although the lot description based on Mr. Searle's own pencil inscription states that this original artwork was published in The New Yorker, what we have before us is actually a slightly looser variant of the published drawing.

Ronald Searle, Party Cat, 1989

Ronald William Fordham Searle (b.1920)

'Party cat'


Price Realized 

  • £3,600
  • ($6,530)
  • Price includes buyer's premium
    £800 - £1,200
  • ($1,451 - $2,177)

Sale Information

Sale 5595 Lot 318
29 June 2005
London, South Kensington

Lot Description

Ronald William Fordham Searle (b.1920)
'Party cat'
signed and dated 'Ronald Searle/1989' (lower right) and inscribed 'Party Cat/New Yorker 28 Dec 1992' (lower left)
pen and black ink, crayon, watercolour and bodycolour, unframed
11¾ x 8¼ in. (29.8 x 21 cm.) 

Special Notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
This lot is subject to storage and collection charges. **For Furniture and Decorative Objects, storage charges commence 7 days from sale. Please contact department for further details.**
The New Yorker Magazine, 28 December, 1992 issue. 

Just so you never make the same mistake Searle and Christie's did, here's the true published version, wreath and all:
Ronald Searle, Party Animal,
The New Yorker, December 28, 1992

Note:  My previous post on Ronald Searle is hereAll my Searle posts are really essential so don't go thinking you can just skip them or anything.

Matt Jones has this and more of Searle's New Yorker work here.



  1. Yes, Matt, but it was incorrectly identified as the published version in the auction listing, and it is pretty damn good-looking on its own. I think this version was indeed good enough to publish, and it's even possible it was shown to the New Yorker's editors in case they preferred to omit the wreath.

  2. I much prefer the "rough" version to the one that was eventually published.

  3. Yes, Searle's roughs for the New Yorker are often nicer than the finished articles! I just updated the NYer COVERS section of the blog with a Xmas '89 cover that I'd omitted-

  4. UM, I also prefer this unpublished version.

    Matt J, that 1989 New Yorker cover, for me, is just as good as it gets. Sheer joy!