Friday, December 27, 2019

Ronald Searle: A New Year's Letter to Jean Ellsmoor

December 27, 1961. Ronald Searle, newly-fled to Paris, writes to his London secretary Jean Ellsmoor. How common could it have been then for a busy illustrator to type letters to his secretary? Searle sent her many; the mail seems to have been their primary mode of long-distance communication. Quite a bit of Searle's correspondence with Ellsmoor is still available from Chris Beetles Gallery to which it was consigned a few years ago, circa 2011. This letter indicates Ellsmoor is still handling Searle's transactions with John Locke, his American agent. The cartoonist also stops to wonder how he can possibly do any more of his Imaginary Portraits series for Punch. Finally, he adds festive New Year's greetings in his distinctive decorative lettering because he has a "second intention" besides business, because he can't abide leaving any portion of the paper blank, and because he is Ronald Searle.


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