27th July 1986. Pocket Cartoons.
Osbert Lancaster who died Today in 1986 will be remembered as the creator of Pocket Cartoons, the single-panel topical drawings which were a regular feature of the Daily Express newspaper from 1939 until 1979.
He thus in this time became a British institution and deservedly rests in the pantheon of cartoonists which includes the likes of Giles, also of the Express, along with David Low and others. Matt of the Daily Telegraph is his modern counterpart.
In World War II he was engaged in Press censorship whilst continuing a wry look at daily events, through his cartoons, and so offering an antidote to those dreary times of rationing and bombing.
Lancaster came from that now defunct, Oxford educated, upper-middle class, which contributed so much in a literature which reflected that way of life, thinking of novelists Evelyn Waugh, and Anthony Powell, for whose front covers Lancaster was to illustrate, and poet and friend John Betjeman with whom he worked on the Architectural Review.
Lancaster thus contributed in his small way to lift the spirits of the British people with his gentle mockery of the upper classes and their concerns, epitomised particularly by the comments of Maudie Littlehampton and her aristocratic family.
Critic, stage designer, author, illustrator and commenter on architecture and dandyish gossip, Lancaster richly deserved to be one of the few cartoonists along with John Tenniel and David Low in being awarded a knighthood.
theguardian.com. Osbert Lancaster. David Smith. 23.11.2008.
Abbott and Holder/Pics.