Posts Tagged ‘artist’

On this day in magazines: Punch and Thatcher in 1977

February 24, 2017
How Trog portrayed Thatcher for Punch in 1977 (February 23)

How Trog portrayed Thatcher for Punch in 1977 (February 23)

‘Trog’ – Willy Fawkes – was a prolific cartoonist and did several Margaret Thatcher caricatures for Punch. This 1977 cover illustrated an article entitled, ‘What to do about the baby shortage’. The Conservative Party leader would not became prime minister for another two years. Here, she is portrayed as pregnant in the pose made famous by Alfred Leete in the ‘Your Country Needs You’ image of Lord Kitchener.

Thatcher had been a member of parliament since 1959 and became Edward Heath’s education secretary in 1970, a post she held for four years until the Tories lost power. She replaced Heath to become leader of the opposition and in 1979 won the first of her three premierships, losing the party leadership to John Major in 1990. Next are two more Thatcher depictions by Trog, all also before she became PM.

Trog turns to Dickens for inspiration in this Thatcher caricature from 1971 for Punch magazine cover

Trog turns to Dickens for inspiration in this Thatcher caricature from 20 July 1971 for Punch

In 1971, Trog had turned to Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist for inspiration, a serial first published in Bentley’s Miscellany magazine in 1837, with a George Cruikshank engraving of the above scene. The Punch cartoon has Thatcher in the role of Mr Bumble, the workhouse beadle, taking umbrage at Oliver asking for more gruel. She was education secretary at this time and cut spending. In 1974, and caused a furore and was nicknamed ‘Thatcher the milk snatcher‘ for ending the practice of primary schoolchildren being given a small bottle of milk each day.

Thatcher as a hippy! Trog for Punch in 1975

Thatcher finds the grass is greener as a hippy! Trog for Punch in 1975

The idea of Thatcher as a spliff-smoking, guitar-strumming hippy is the sort of thing that would have to come from a cartoonist like Trog. The Punch cover is from October 8, 1975, a year after she had replaced Edward Heath as  leader of the Conservative Party.

To see almost 500 magazine covers and pages, look out for my book, A History of British Magazine Design, from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design



On this day in magazines: Aeroplane and Eric Fraser in 1960

February 12, 2017
Eric Fraser cover for Aeroplane magazine of a Lightning jet from 11 February 1960

Eric Fraser cover for Aeroplane magazine of a Lightning jet 

Apologies for the small illustration, but I can’t find the actual issue of  The Aeroplane and Astronautics from 12 February 1960.

I wanted to use this cover for two reasons. First, as an example of an advertising cover, and second as an example of Eric Fraser’s artistry, outside the magazine for which he is best known, Radio TimesAeroplane, a ‘weekly magazine for the aviation enthusuiast’, invariably used illustrated covers. I don’t know how they were commissioned but there must have been co-operation between the advertiser and the magazine.

The Eric Fraser cover here is for the English Electric Lightning – Britain’s main fighter jet in the days when the country could afford to build its own rather than buy from the US or go into co-operation with Europe.

The Chris Beetles gallery  has held exhibitions of Fraser’s work. This is how the gallery describes him:

Eric Fraser is one of the most significant British illustrators and designers of the 20th century, who produced work that is at once wide-ranging and highly distinctive. Developing an assured technique and an impressive general knowledge, he could adapt his style to almost any subject matter, from ancient to modern, and any mood, from the whimsical to the tragic. He was also industrious, meticulous and dependable. As a result, he defined the look of Radio Times for over four decades and became a mainstay of JM Dent’s Everyman’s Library while also creating impressive murals and stained glass windows and an astonishing variety of advertising.

Fraser was also chosen to illustrate the May 1953 coronation number of the Radio Times. This was an unusual issue because he drew not only the heraldic illustration on the front, but also the back cover advertisement for Batchelors Foods in a similar style. The event marked the first time the BBC’s listings weekly had used colour since before the war. The Batchelors advert was also used on the back of that week’s Listener. Fraser drew for the Radio Times from 1926 until 1982, the year before his death.

He was a member of the Society of Industrial Artists, which was founded in 1930 at the Ye Olde Cock Tavern in London’s Fleet Street, and has evolved into today’s Chartered Society of Designers, complete with royal patronage.

An Aeroplane magazine cover of a Fairey Battle from 13 April 1935

An Aeroplane magazine cover of a Fairey Battle from 13 April 1935

The Aeroplane and Astronautics was published by Temple Press and in the 1940s claimed to be ‘the most influential aviation journal in the world’. Temple was founded in the Victorian era with titles such as Cycling and Motor. In 1949, it became part of George Newnes and then part of the IPC conglomerate in the 1960s.

Aeroplane has a history of great covers, which like many trade and technical magazines, carried advertising.

Although the cover is the prime place for gaining such revenue, most consumer magazines and newspapers moved away from front page advertising, a trend that accelerated after the Second World War. However, it’s a tactic that is returning, particularly among free titles, but even the biggest newspapers are now giving their covers away as wraparounds, and back covers are now often adverts.


To see almost 500 magazine covers and pages, look out for my book, A History of British Magazine Design, from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design





The Lady – out of racy Vie Parisienne

May 7, 2015
Retro artwork for The Lady magazine from 27 March 2015

Retro artwork for The Lady magazine from 27 March 2015

The Lady promotes itself as ‘England’s longest running weekly magazine for women’, having been in continuous publication since 1885 (DC Thomson’s People’s Friend out of Dundee holds the British record, dating from 1869 – in fact, it lays claim to being oldest women’s weekly magazine in the world). Furthermore, The Lady tells me, the magazine is ‘celebrated both for the quality of its editorial pages and its classified advertisements’ (it has long had the reputation as being the place to go to find a nanny). The Lady is ‘for elegant women with elegant minds’.

I was reading the issue above as I sat in the dentist this morning (no more Punch or Reader’s Digest). I was struck by the cover. Clearly, an illustration that has been lifted from a magazine dating from a century ago, when women had the time to line the walls of their houses with bowers of flowers, or at least inspired by one.

Then, blow me down, this afternoon I come across the original manifestation, for the racy French weekly Vie Parisienne. It’s been flipped, put through Photoshop with the colours hardened up and the artist’s monogram (GL – Georges Léonnec) removed, but it’s the same cover nevertheless. The cover line has also gone, Renouveau – renewal, in keeping with the Spring theme.

Racy French weekly Vie Parisienne from 1926

Racy French weekly Vie Parisienne from April 1926

The issue dates from 1926, the days of Art Deco and Jazz. This was very much the heyday of Vie Parisienne, which was famed for its artistic pin-ups. It was founded in 1863, before even People’s Friend, but closed in about 1970. Although there is still a French title of that name, it’s now pornographic and bears no relation to the original. And, just as Le Charivari had inspired Punch, so Vie Parisienne inspired London Life.

There’s a long history of magazines using each others’ cover ideas, though what the stately readers of The Lady in 1926 would have thought of these men’s magazines does not bear thinking about.





Japanese airmen fly Kamikaze into Britain

June 29, 2014
Photograph from the June 1937 issue of Popular Flying showing the two airmen at Croydon airfield at the end of their flight from Japan

Popular Flying magazine (June 1937 issue) showing the two Japanese airmen at Croydon aerodrome at the end of their record-breaking flight from Japan






Britain and Japan were allies during the first world war. British shipyards had built most of Tokyo’s fleet at the turn of the century, and they were still allies in the 1930s. So, the arrival of two Japanese airmen at Croydon airfield at the end of a record-breaking 10,000 mile goodwill flight from Japan to mark the May coronation of King George VI was a cause for celebration in 1937. Popular Flying magazine – edited by ‘Biggles’ author WE Johns – set the tone in its June issue:

The end of a great flight. Masaki Jinuma [Masaaki Iinuma] and Kenji Tsukagoshi, the Japanese airmen, arriving at Croydon in their delightfully named aircraft ‘Divine Wind,’ after flying the 10,000 miles from Tokio in 94 hours

‘Divine Wind’ does indeed sound charming, but to today’s eyes, the Japanese for the name on the side of the aircraft loses its delight – Kamikaze.

The word was originally used in Japanese folk lore with reference to the supposed divine wind that blew on a night in August 1281, destroying the navy of the invading Mongols.

In 1937,  Japan was again at war – with China – and that conflict would merge into the second world war after Japan’s attacks on Malaysia and Pearl Harbor in 1941. in October 1944, fanatical kamikaze suicide pilots began deliberately crashing their aircraft into allied ships in the Pacific. In all, 47 Allied vessels  were sunk by kamikaze attacks, and about 300 damaged for the loss of 3,000 kamikaze pilots. About one in six planes hit a target.

A Japanese website has a painting by Shigeo Koike of the original record-breaking Kamikaze, a Mitsubishi Ki-15 Karigane, which served as a reconnaissance plane and light bomber. Parts of the text read:

The exploit led to international fame for the aircraft and was accomplished between 6th and 9th April 1937. The flight was timed to mark the coronation celebrations on 12 May. The plane was the type’s second prototype, which was given the civil designation of J-BAAI for the occasion and named Kamikaze. With Masaaki Iinuma as pilot and Kenji Tsugakoshi as navigator, the aircraft flew from Tachikawa to London in 94 hours, 17 minutes and 56 seconds, covering 15,353 km in a net flying time of 51 hours 17 minutes and 23 seconds, at an average speed of 160.8 km/h. The flight was sponsored by the daily paper Asahi-Shinbun.

Iinuma and Tsugakoshi returned to Japan and later fought in the war against the Allies. Iinuma died on 11 December 1941 when he walked into a spinning aircraft propeller at Phnom Penh airfield in French Indochina (now Cambodia). The incident is supposed to have happened just after he had heard news of the attack on Pearl Harbor. That attack had taken place on Sunday, 7 December and on the 11th Germany and Italy declared war on the US. The Japanese had attacked British forces just before Pearl Harbor by landing on the coast of Malaya and bombing Singapore and Hong Kong. Tsukagoshi disappeared while on a flight over the Indian Ocean in 1943.

The Kamikaze was on display at the Ashai Shimbun headquarters in Tokyo in 1944 when the building was hit by a bomb and the airplane was destroyed.

Popular Flying magazine was published on the 22nd of each month by C. Arthur Pearson from its offices in Covent Garden, Tower House in Southampton St, just off The Strand in London. It cost 6d an issue. Pearson’s magazines were owned by Newnes, which later merged into IPC. The printer was Williams, Lea & Co at Clifton House in Worship Street. Other articles described aerodrome holidays, flying over Britain and air holidays abroad. The cover is by Howard Leigh, who illustrated many of the Biggles books.

Popular Flying magazine cover June 1937

Popular Flying magazine cover June 1937