Caricature Portraits of Edward Lear, Oscar Wilde and A. C. Swinburne

Sheet size: 152 × 176 mm. Presented in a black wooden frame with UV glass. Stamped on verso for publication in the Sunday Telegraph. Pen and ink on wove paper. Caricature portraits of the three artists, drawn as if portraits hanging in a hallway. The likeliest date is 1968, when Angus Davidson’s 1938 biography of Edward Lear was reissued. Several works on or by Oscar Wilde were published or reissued that year, along with Jean Overton Fuller’s Swinburne: A Critical Biography. The cartoons and illustrations of Nicolas Bentley (1907-1978) were part of the warp and weft of English popular culture in the 1950s and 60s. Never savage, though often waspishly accurate and exuding an urbane air of amusement at the foibles of his fellows, Bentley’s work was familiar to the public from a wide variety of publications. Between 1952 and 1954 he drew regular cartoons for the weekly Time and Tide, and after that for the daily News Chronicle. Between 1958 and 1962 he drew topical cartoons for the Daily Mail under the title “Watch My Line.” He also drew many portraits, in black and white line, of famous people, for various papers, including over sixty for the Sunday Telegraph, which began publication in February 1961.

Peter Harrington Antiquarian Bookseller.

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2 Responses to Caricature Portraits of Edward Lear, Oscar Wilde and A. C. Swinburne

  1. Peter Byrne says:

    Nicolas Bentley illustrated some of Hilaire Belloc’s ‘Cautionary Verses’, a book of 1940 that looks like long outliving Belloc’s reputation as an historian.

  2. Anna says:

    He has a nice simple style. I was imagining how the portraits would look like if he added a colour, and realized that the art would look great it was made as a Lithography (at least in my opinion).

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