Thursday, August 15, 2013

Signed and Inscribed by Ronald Searle

An author's signature in a book is desirable, but by itself it tells little of the circumstances under which it was obtained. An inscription can add a bit of color to the story behind the signing, particularly when the signer writes well.

Ronald Searle was as gifted with the written word as any cartoonist I can think of, although that may not be apparent solely from the relatively brief inscription in this copy of Ronald Searle in Perspective (1984). Just as his drawing style was unique, his left-handed script is rather singular. His signature especially is like no one else's.

The eBay seller casuarius2006 has been selling off of late a rather extraordinary collection of Searle books. Perhaps it all once belonged to someone named "Tiger."

Ronald Searle, Ronald Searle in Perspective (1984), the cover

Ronald Searle, Ronald Searle in Perspective (1984), the printed front free endpaper with dated signature and inscription

Ronald Searle, Ronald Searle in Perspective (1984) inscribed "'Tiger' Coltart / with every good wish for your / first 80th! --from the perpetrator of this tome. / Ronald Searle / 14th May 1986." Searle himself was a spritely 66 years old at the time.

Ronald Searle, Ronald Searle in Perspective (1984), open to two color illustratons:  "Baseball, Phoenix, Arizona" (1963) and "Hudson's Bay Post, Maliotenam, Canada" (1963), pages 72 and 73. Searle's work took him all over North America as well as Europe and other parts of the globe.

The Sunday Telegraph Review, "The Art of Survival," October 28, 1990 some four years after the book was signed

November 2, 2013 Update:  Sold!

Note: I write more about signed books here and more about Ronald Searle here.



  1. I would hazard a guess that 'Tiger' was a fellow POW survivor of Searle.

    1. Interesting conjecture, Matt. In that case, the age difference might have made him one of Searle's officers.