Saturday 28 April 2012


At the Chris Beetles Gallery's cartoonists exhibition which ends next Saturday there is this cartoon by William ('Bill') Hewison...

In commenting on Britain's anxieties about the economic slump, Hewison was paying homage to the work of another great cartoonist, Henry Mayo Bateman (1887-1970), who is the subject of a excellent new exhibition at London's Cartoon Museum entitled – The Man Who Went Mad on Paper.

H M Batman was famous for his 'The Man Who...' cartoons in which he depicted characters committing inconceivably stupid social gaffs to the shock and horror of everyone – and everything – around. People's limbs shake, jaws drop, eyes bulge, moustaches quiver while the very furnishings of the room or the features of the landscape shake and tremble in response to the blundering faux pas.

Dubbed the first modern master of the cartoonist's art, Bateman eschewed what was at the time the tradition of cartoons that took the form of mostly realistic, un-cartoony drawings with lengthy dialogue captions usually ending in a punch-line that was invariable less than hilarious.

In a moment of apotheosis – which Bateman described as 'going mad on paper' – he came up with the gag-cartoon: a funny picture with a single line caption. From then on, cartoons never looked back.

Batman chronicled the ups and downs of the social mores of Britain – with all the absurdities of its rigidly-codified class structure – from the Edwardian era through to the 1930s. But the daring freshness of Bateman's approach is still evident, even in those drawings that reflect the yesteryear in which they were drawn. We look, we get the joke, we laugh and then – we look again at the detailing that provides us with more sly little amusements to giggle and chuckle over.

The 120 cartoons on show in The Cartoon Museum exhibition not only reflect Bateman's long and prolific career, but also the breadth of his work. There is a generous selection of his famous 'The Man Who...' cartoons, but there are also examples of his brilliantly observed comic portraits of social 'types' from the down-to-earth 'Croydon Gardner'...

To high society's mistresses of 'The Evil Eye' – the Chaperones...

The exhibition also justly accords Bateman the credit for creating the caption-less strip-cartoon as in 'The Subway', where pleasant, civilised, people turn into angry, snarling beasts upon entering London's underground railway system...

The exhibition remains on show until 22 July and is accompanied by a 160-page catalogue crammed with chortleful images.

The Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street, London WC1A 2HH.
Telephone 0207 580 8155

Tuesdays-Saturdays 10:30-17:30
Sunday 12:-17:30
Closed Mondays (including Bank Holidays)

£5.50 Adults; £4.00 Concessions; £3 Students;
Free to Under-18s, Art Fund Members & Friends of the Cartoon Museum
Children 12 or under must be accompanied by an adult.

A number of events are taking place to coincide with the exhibition: check the Cartoon Museum website for up-to-date details and how to book.

Bateman images: © H M Bateman Designs

Thursday 26 April 2012


The greatest movie stars are – and always have been – what they are because they look the way they do: faces uniquely individual and instantly memorable. However, this brilliant little animated film by Philip Scott Johnson, suggests that there is less to separate the gods of the silver screen from one another than we might have supposed...

To how many of these endlessly re-morphing features can you put a name?

Frustrated readers will find the role-call after the film...

Here's Who Was Who...

Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Rudolph Valentino, Charlie Chaplin, James Cagney, Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Errol Flynn, Fred Astaire, Clark Gable, Laurence Olivier, Gary Cooper, Humphrey Bogart, James Stewart, Tyrone Power, Cary Grant, Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Gene Kelly, Burt Lancaster, William Holden, Marlon Brando, James Dean, Rock Hudson, Montgomery Clift, Anthony Quinn, Gregory Peck, Richard Burton, Jack Lemmon, Sean Connery, Sidney Poitier, Charlton Heston, Steve McQueen, Peter O'Toole, Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, Roy Scheider, Warren Beatty, Dennis Hopper, Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Harrison Ford, Kevin Kline, Kevin Costner, Michael Douglas, Christopher Walken, Mel Gibson, Sean Penn, John Travolta, Antonio Banderas, Tim Robbins, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey, Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Matt Damon and George Clooney

The music is Bach's Allemande from 'Suite for Solo Cello No. 3 in C Major,' performed by Antonio Meneses.

Monday 23 April 2012


St George's Day

The traditional view of St George's famous combat with the Dragon by artist by Graham Twyford...

The revisionist version (as if it were a case from the vintage TV crime series, Dragnet) courtesy of Stan Freberg, Daws Butler and June Foray...

Sunday 22 April 2012


Happy Earth Day 2012...

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors,
we borrow it from our children.

Native American Proverb

Image: Brian Sibley © July 2009

Saturday 21 April 2012


At long last the publishers, HarperCollins, have announced something of which I have been acutely aware for the past six months: that I'm busily writing the first of two Official Movie Guides to accompany the release of Peter Jackson films of The Hobbit.

Here – to parody Tolkien – is the Long-Expected Press Release.

Doubtless there will be more blog-posts as publication - like the lengthening shadow of Mordor – looms...

Also coming (and potentially very hobbit-forming) are The Lord of the Rings LEGO sets! What else...?

Here's the starter set: The Nine Walkers - The Fellowship of the Ring – as Tolkien could never have envisaged them!

What can one say....?

"We wants it, we needs it. Must have it, precious..."

Thursday 19 April 2012


Currently on show at Chris Beetles Gallery is an exhibition of cartoons and caricatures by Bill Hewison, Ed McLachlan and Mike Williams Three of the ALL-TIME Great Gag Artists of PUNCH.

One of my favourite gags from the collection is this cartoon by Williams (after a former Punch artist, E H Shepard)...

To see more of the same – and different – click here.

The exhibition remains on show until 5 May 2012.

Chris Beetles Gallery, 8 & 10 Ryder Street, St James's, London, SW1Y 6QB
Telephone: 020 7839 7551

Gallery Opening Times: Monday - Saturday, 10:00 - 17:30pm

Tuesday 17 April 2012


An amoosing revelation from the Dairy Department: gay cows!

Friday 13 April 2012

Sunday 8 April 2012


One of the jobs I enjoyed for several years (though many years ago, now) was writing the scripts for the BBC's Disney Time TV shows: celebrity-presented compilations of classic Disney clips that were broadcast over Easter, Christmas and other assorted holiday weekends.

The chief reason I loved doing these – not terribly demanding – programmes was because I'd grown up watching them (and avidly recording them on my little handheld tape recorder!) and now there I was writing them !

Anyway, Disney Time is long gone, but this Easter – in fact, tonight on Radio 2 at 7:00 pm– there's a chance to catch a re-run of Sibley Disney offering entitled...

The title, by the way, comes from an article on the Disney company published in The Wall Street Journal in 1958 where Walt's business philosophy was summarised as: 'Dream, diversify – and never miss an angle'.

After tonight's broadcast, Never Miss An Angle can be caught up with via BBC iPlayer for the next seven days.



Stained glass by Beverley Shore Bennett created for the windows of the ambulatory in St Paul's Cathedral, Wellington, New Zealand.

These windows are based around the recorded 'I am...' statements made by Jesus: 'I am the Bread', 'the Way', 'the Vine', 'the Life', 'the Lamb of God', and, here, 'the Resurrection'.

All the windows contain symbols elaborating on those themes, including, here, the life cycle of the monarch butterfly.

Image: © Brian Sibley 2003

Friday 6 April 2012


On this day...

Images: Passion scenes from the bronze door panels of the Duomo, Milan, Italy.
© Brian Sibley 2009

Wednesday 4 April 2012


Many thanks to all my readers who voted for my Ex Libris blog in the recent Most Fascinating Blog awards.

My posting about P L Travers and Mary Poppins scored 10th place out of the 93 nominated blogs!

Sunday 1 April 2012


If you haven't yet caught up with this amazing new technological development from Google, take a couple of minutes to see how, today, you could liberate yourself from the shackles of yesterday's limited communications technology...

Here is more in-depth expert opinion on Gmail Motion...

To try Gmail Motion for yourself, click here.