British cartoonist Ronald Searle dies at 91

Posted Jan. 03, 2012, at 6:13 p.m.

HANOVER, Germany — Legendary British cartoonist Ronald Searle, famous for his spiky drawings of dissolute English schoolgirls, died in southern France at the age of 91, the German museum to which he bequeathed most of his work announced Tuesday.

Searle, who lived in France for four decades, died Dec. 30, the Wilhelm Busch German Museum for Caricature and Drawing in Hanover announced.

His publisher, Penguin, separately announced his death in a hospital near his home in Draguignan in the southeastern Var region.

Born in 1920 in the university town of Cambridge, Searle began working as a cartoonist with a local paper after leaving school at 15.

But it was as a prisoner of war in Singapore during World War II that he really began to hone his craft, with sketches depicting miserable conditions in the camp where he spent three years.

It was also around this time that he began drawing the St Trinian’s girls school series for which he became famous.

The series, which depicted girls in gymslips drinking, gambling and engaging in other mischief, was highly irreverent for the time and later became the subject of a film series. Searle’s work appeared in countless newspapers and magazines.

In 1961 he was commissioned by Life magazine to cover the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem.

Later, after moving to France, he was hired by Le Monde newspaper, where his cartoons appeared regularly for 13 years.

In 2007 he received France’s highest award, the Legion of Honor.

In 2011, he gave about 2,200 of his works as permanent loans to the Wilhelm Busch museum.

 

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