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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Cartoon Thief at large.

And a mighty big cartoon thief at that. You know, we cartoonists send copies of our work to publications nowadays. We send them hi-resolution prints or we email hi-resolution graphics. There are one or two high-profile publications that work from the original drawings, but they really look after them and get them back to you in pristine condition.

This was not always the case and we, especially us here in Britain (remember the famous Wapping debacle and the like) used to send our original drawings into publications because the equipment was antiquated, and because only Union Members could add zipatone dots, etc, etc, etc.

Anyway, the publications here in the UK, with the exception of our high-profile British publications like the lovely Punch Magazine, just kept a hold of the original artwork. Of course they didn't own it, they hadn't bought it, they had merely bought the right to reproduce the cartoon in their publication. Imagine then, how shocked all we British cartoonists are to see a huge inventory of cartoons being auctioned off at Edinburgh's leading Auction House, Lyon and Turnball; including 3 'lots' of cartoons by my old mate, Dave Parker.

Happily, cartoonists like the great Noel Ford have been alerted to the sale, thanks to Steve Willis, maybe we can stop it going ahead until the legal issues around it are ironed out. I did some quick screen capturing with Paintshop Pro so that you can see just how big the sale is:





Now, it looks like the cartoonists who sold the cartoons (that doesn't mean the original art and it also doesn't mean the North American and European and South American and Asian and even Second British Publication Rights), or at least sold the newspaper the right to reproduce the cartoons once, in their publication, know nothing about the sale. The publication itself never paid a great deal of money for the right to reproduce the artwork, and now they have the nerve to steal it; astonishing, really - it really is.


Here are the details from the catalogue:


LYON & TURNBULL
Rare Books, Manuscripts, Maps, and Photographs

294B
Original cartoons—Collins, Dennis and Maurice Dodd. The Perishers. 10 ink original strip cartoons on card of The Perishers, numbered L96-L105, L108-L109, each 56 x 19cm. - 56 x 16cm., numbered and dated from 25/4/77 - 10/5/77 in margin, one stamped in margin and two on verso ‘Slade London’.
£200-300

294C
Original cartoons—Collins, Dennis and Maurice Dodd. The Perishers, 10 ink original strip cartoons on card of The Perishers, numbered L110-L116 and L120-L121, each 56 x 19cm or 56 x 17cm., numbered and dated from 11/5/77 - 24/5/77 in margin, most stamped on verso ‘Slade London’, L115 with alterations to drawing superimposed on
Original £200-300


I've highlighted The Perishers strips because they may not be part of this Lot (as Steve Willis has pointed out and since my mate Stephanie Piro vouches for him I'll take his word for it), which comprises Daily Express and Daily Star cartoons. In which case this serves as a bit of an advert for the sale of this artwork, and a nod in the direction of good old SLADE (The Society of Lithographic Artists Designers and Engravers), the union that I joined in the 1980s in order to sell cartoons to The Daily Mirror (made me feel dead important because they described me as a Graphic Designer), which only published cartoons, at that time, from union members - and paid twice as much as everyone else. (Can I just add that I never liked The Perishers strip, or the animated series? It was designed to be Britain's answer to Peanuts, but since Peanuts had both Heart and Soul and The Perishers had neither, it perished. However, it is original art at a decent price, and I'd much rather you hung it on your walls than some ghastly print - know what I mean?)

The following 41 lots comprise a collection of original artwork of cartoons and comic strips published in the Daily Express and Daily Star in the 1990’s and early 2000s. It includes work by many of the most accomplished gag and strip cartoonists in the country, whose work has been published in many other publications with a high reputation for cartoons, such as Private Eye, Punch and the Spectator.


297
Original cartoon strip—Beau Peep 12 original ink Beau Peep strip cartoons, as published in The Daily Star, numbered Sat. 132, Wed. 63 - Sat. 66, Mon. 31 - Sat. 36, 17 x 44cms. £200-300

298
Original cartoons, 15 unidentified ink strip cartoons on card, numbered in pencil 1-15, 10 x 30cm
£200-300

299
Original cartoons. 15 unidentified ink strip cartoons on card, numbered in pencil 15-30, 10 x 30cm
£200-300

300
Original cartoons. 15 unidentified ink strip cartoons on card, 10 x 30cm. £200-300


301
Original cartoons , 15 unidentified ink strip cartoons on card, 10 x 30cm
£200-300



302
Original cartoons—Adey, 15 signed original ink cartoons on paper by Adey, numbered in pencil
in lower corner, 21 x 15cm
£200-300


303
Original cartoons—Adey, 15 signed original ink cartoons on paper by Adey, numbered in pencil
in lower corner, one numbered in ink in upper margin, 21 x 15cm.
£200-300


304
Original cartoons—Arnold Wiles, 15 signed original ink cartoons on paper by Wiles, one coloured, several with typex alterations, most numbered and some with Wiles’s stamp on verso, 22 x 17cm.
£200-300


305
Original cartoons—Arnold Wiles 15 signed original ink cartoons on paper by Wiles, with number and Andrew Wiles’s stamp on verso, most c. 23 x 18cm.
£200-300


306
Original cartoons—Arnold Wiles, 15 signed original ink cartoons on paper by Arnold Wiles, one with new caption superimposed, three numbered in ink in margin, numbered and with Andrew Wiles’s stamp on verso, 22 x 17cm.
£200-300


307
Original cartoons—Bri, 15 signed original ink cartoons on thin card by Bri, with name & address of Brian Cummins on verso, three numbered in margin on recto, 21 x 15cm.
£200-300


308
Original cartoons—Bri, 15 signed original ink cartoons on paper or card by Bri, with name & address of Brian Cummins on verso, six numbered in margin on recto, 21 x 15cm
£200-300


309
Original cartoons—Bri , 15 signed original ink cartoons on paper or card by Bri, with name & address of Brian Cummins on verso, six numbered in upper margin on recto, 21 x 15cm
£200-300


310
Original cartoons—Chris Wright 15 signed original ink cartoons on paper by Chris Wright, numbered and signed in capitals in lower margin, 21 x 14.5cm
£200-300


311
Original cartoons—Dave Parker, 15 signed original ink cartoons on paper by Parker, two numbered in ink in margin, 21 x 15cm.
£200-300


312
Original cartoons—Dave Parker, 15 signed original ink cartoons on paper by Parker, one numbered in ink in margin, all numbered on verso, 21 x 15cm.
£200-300


313
Original cartoons—Dave Parker, 15 signed original ink cartoons on paper by Parker, four numbered in pencil in margin, all numbered on verso, 21 x 15cm.
£200-300


314
Original cartoons—Dicky Howett, 15 signed original ink cartoons on paper by Howett, 2 numbered in ink and one in pencil in margin, average size 18 x 14cm.
£200-300


315
Original cartoons—Jack Blyth, 15 signed original ink cartoons on card by Blyth, captioned in pencil, two numbered in ink in margin, all numbered on verso, 21 x 15cm.
£200-300


316
Original cartoons—Jack Blyth, 15 signed original ink cartoons on card by Blyth, captioned in pencil, three numbered in ink in margin, all numbered on verso, 21 x 15cm.
£200-300


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Now a few things strike me about this sale, there are two pieces of artwork in the Lot, not on the list above that are an absolute steal, but then so many of the items on the list are; steals I mean. For one thing, there are some great cartoonists on the list, but some are more great than others (to totally misquote Orwell). The list price for The Beau Peeps is the same as those for the 'unknown' comic strip artists (now what are those? Old 4-D Jones strips, try out strips...I'll find out, as soon as I get back to Edinburgh) so the Beau Peeps are underpriced, whilst one or two less well known gag cartoonists are all thrown in at the same price. It's crazy pricing, a guide I know, but crazy nonetheless.

Another thing that strikes me is the date, 1990 to 2000, that's a bit late to be sending originals, aren't some of these inkjet copies and not original at all? Also, where are all the older cartoons? In fact, hang on, I got work back from Gerald Lip after he used it, in the 1980s. Did I have to ask for it? I can't remember, but I have an old one of my Daily Star or Daily Express cartoons somewhere. I never sent to them in the 1990s to 2000s though. I must try to get to the bottom of this.

Oh yeah, and Dicky Howett, I always loved his drawings and his comic pages. His work was always very original looking. He still works for Doctor Who comic does he?

1 comment:

Mike Lynch said...

Bravo to Noel and Steve!