Cartoons and Coronets: The Genius of Osbert Lancaster

James Knox

Cartoons and Coronets: The Genius of Osbert Lancaster

Osbert Lancaster was one of the most famous artistic personalities of his generation. National fame sprang from his invention of the pocket cartoon, which first appeared in 1939 in Beaverbrook's Daily Express. Over the next forty years, he created a cast of characters, headed by the straight talking Countess, Maudie Littlehampton, which, every day, kept the nation chuckling. Osbert's witty depictions of architectural styles, such as Stockbrokers' Tudor and Curzon Street Baroque brought him to prominence in the 1930s. After the war, he became one of the leading theatre and opera designers. He was also a brilliant illustrator working with friends and contemporaries such as Anthony Powell, John Piper and Nancy Mitford. This beautifully illustrated book covers the full range of his work and will be a revelation to those discovering his art and humour for the first time. 3.9 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
Cartoons and Coronets: The Genius of Osbert Lancaster

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Art, Architecture & Photography, Humour
Format Paperback
Pages 224
RRP £15.99
Date of Publication October 2008
ISBN 978-0711229389
Publisher Frances Lincoln
 

Osbert Lancaster was one of the most famous artistic personalities of his generation. National fame sprang from his invention of the pocket cartoon, which first appeared in 1939 in Beaverbrook's Daily Express. Over the next forty years, he created a cast of characters, headed by the straight talking Countess, Maudie Littlehampton, which, every day, kept the nation chuckling. Osbert's witty depictions of architectural styles, such as Stockbrokers' Tudor and Curzon Street Baroque brought him to prominence in the 1930s. After the war, he became one of the leading theatre and opera designers. He was also a brilliant illustrator working with friends and contemporaries such as Anthony Powell, John Piper and Nancy Mitford. This beautifully illustrated book covers the full range of his work and will be a revelation to those discovering his art and humour for the first time.

Reviews

The New Statesman

Stephen Calloway

n this shorter book James Knox (who previously wrote a superb life of the Oxford aesthete Robert Byron) attempts something broader. Placing Lancaster the man and Osbert the "character" in a cultural context, he also introduces sections on his friends, his enthusiasms and the various areas of his work. The generous selection of illustrations, many taken from the original drawings, includes several important sequences in full, and a good number of forgotten images. Such a wonderful anthology will certainly delight those who love Osbert already; it may well win over those discovering him for the first time, too.

23/10/2008

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Scotland on Sunday

James Knox

James Knox’s book has rekindled all my delight in the man, his art and his wit. What a polymath he was: ‘pocket cartoonist’ in the Daily Express for almost 40 years; architectural pundit and parodist; theatre designer; travel writer; illustrator; diplomat; autobiographer; boulevardier.

01/10/2008

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The Daily Telegraph

Niholas Garland

Leaving aside the author's unwillingness to delve into the more troubled side of Osbert Lancaster's life, I have two minor grumbles about this otherwise excellent little book. Many of the illustrations are printed too small. It would be better not to print them at all, than to tantalise the reader this way.

16/10/2008

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The Daily Express

Duncan Fallowell

...Lancaster’s talents were many and this is a gorgeous anthology to display them. James Knox opens with a short biography: Osbert was born in Notting Hill, went to Charterhouse, then Oxford, and afterwards the Slade School of Art… I’d like to have seen more of the book illustrations and jackets...Nor, I think, does Knox give sufficient emphasis to Lancaster the author. He took great care with his texts, ensuring that like his other work they possessed “the light touch”. He really is a writer-artist, always an eccentric combination and a very English one too, whose chief example is William Blake.

26/09/2008

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