Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ronald Searle: Greeting Cards from Changi Gaol

These four wartime greeting cards were created by prisoners of war in Changi Gaol, a Japanese prison camp in Singapore. They consist of one Christmas card, two birthday cards, and an anniversary card. Cartoonist Ronald Searle had a hand in each of them, primarily with the drawing and the lettering, but these cards are also the work of his cellmates. The extent of collaboration is unclear, and possibly different for each. The 1944 Christmas card illustration is most recognizably the work of Searle, although on the inside it bears a greeting from Keith Stevens.

The collaborative nature of these cards may have harmed their auction prospects. Originally offered in March of 2012 at Bonhams with a presale estimate of 600 to 800 GBP for the group, they went unsold. Offered again in June 2012 with a lower estimate of 400 to 600 GBP, they again failed to find a buyer.

Bonhams, March 27, 2012, Lot 216

Bonhams, June 26, 2012, Lot 512

Ronald Searle, Christmas card, 1944

Note:  Additional blog posts about the art of Ronald Searle may be found here. 

More Christmas posts from Attempted Bloggery are waiting for you here.

Perpetua, the Ronald Searle tribute blog, covers everything about the artist except, so far, for his cats. See it here.

"Searle in America," the exhibition of Ronald Searle's work for the U.S. magazine market opened November 16 at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco and will be on view through March 30. The Museum's information about the show is here.

The Searle in America blog is dedicated to this exhibition and can be seen here.


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