Sunday, March 15, 2015

Ronald Searle ALS: Dear Irving

Ten years ago, Swann Galleries sold an autograph letter signed from Ronald Searle giving thanks to columnist and press agent Irving Hoffman. The letter, which is from 1958 and not 1948--Swann would not be the first to be tripped up by Searle's unique handwriting--is delightful enough to have been matted and framed, most likely by its recipient. And no wonder! What Swann describes as a large illustration of a man holding a balloon is actually a full-length self-portrait of the grateful artist.

Ronald Searle, Illustrated ALS on his Newton Road stationery
                                           "27 September 1958
                                                        Dear Irving
                                                         Delighted to get the Eliot cutting
                                                         not only because of the cutting but
                                                         because it tells us that the
                                                         Hoffman Eagle Eye hasn't forgotten
                                                         us. I was thinking--almost
                                                         exactly to your letter arrived
                                                         (smeared in the fish bamboo shoots)
                                                         that it seemed a long time
                                                         Since we heard from you.
                                                         Kaye was thinking of sending
                                                         a dove out to look for you
                                                         instead of dry land. It's rained
                                                         more than human memory can
                                                         bear to recall here all 'summer'
                                                         Love from us both
Swann Auction Galleries, May 12, 20015
Sale 2043, Lot 273
Hammer Price $300

Smeared in the fish bamboo shoots?

Note:  There's a lot more great illustration by Ronald Searle on this blog. Would I steer you wrong?

A letter from Irving Hoffman is in the Kaye Webb Collection if any British scholar would like to check it out and report back:


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