Wednesday 3 March 2021


 Having unaccountably missed last year's Ronald Searle centenary, I'll mark it today, a year late. Searle, one of the great draughtsmen of the 20th century, was born on this day in 1920, and died, after a very good innings, at the end of 2011. The huge success of St Trinian's has tended to overshadow his other work – which is a great shame, as the prolific Searle applied his art to a wide range of subjects – cats, wine, books, life as a Japanese PoW – and everything he drew is utterly distinctive and full of rare graphic vitality. For me, of course, his greatest creation (in collaboration with Geoffrey Willans, who wrote the words) was Nigel Molesworth, the Curse of St Custard's. That's him above, with a representative selection of headmasters. Floreat Molesworth! Floreat Sancto Crustare!