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Rosemary Hill: Osbert Lancaster

21 January 2016
Osbert Lancaster’s Cartoons, Columns and Curlicues: ‘Pillar to Post’, ‘Homes Sweet Homes’, ‘Drayneflete Revealed’ 
by Osbert Lancaster.
Pimpernel, 304 pp., £40, October 2015, 978 1 910258 37 8
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... Arriving​ at his prep school in the bleak winter of 1918 the ten-year-old OsbertLancaster was made even more miserable than the average new bug by the fact that St Ronan’s, Worthing was a spectacularly sporty school. The headmaster, Stanley Harris, had captained England at football and ...

At the Wallace Collection

Peter Campbell: Anthony Powell’s artists

26 January 2006
... how scruffy, vulnerable and worked-over a typescript could look. Powell, like Dickens, is specific about appearances and offers descriptions an illustrator can build on. The paperback covers drawn by OsbertLancaster for the early Dance volumes, and those done later by Mark Boxer for the whole series when they were reissued by Fontana, are rare examples in modern English fiction of illustrations which ...
21 May 1981
A Lonely Business: A Self-Portrait of James Pope-Hennessy 
edited by Peter Quennell.
Weidenfeld, 278 pp., £12.50, April 1981, 0 297 77918 4
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... in Sierra Leone in 1965, where he became briefly embroiled in a political demonstration, is better crystallised by the people than in the travelogue prose. The Freetown Governor and his wife (‘if OsbertLancaster had been delegated by God to design them, they could not have been more precisely what they sounded like’), or an Etonian in Dominica who had married his black cook (‘a most depraved ...

This Charming Man

Frank Kermode

24 February 1994
The Collected and Recollected Marc 
Fourth Estate, 51 pp., £25, November 1993, 1 85702 164 9Show More
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... well, the satire having fallen, as satire will, under the rule of time, become a shade dusty and arcane. In pocket cartoons he was bright but perhaps never quite the equal of the doyen of the genre, OsbertLancaster. Among the ‘portraits’ or caricatures, of which we are offered well over a hundred, there are many brilliant successes and few failures. The editor has forsworn annotation, but has ...

At the V&A

Peter Campbell: Penguin’s 70th birthday

2 June 2005
... and Zooey is black and white type on silver. But readers too are easily unsettled. When Penguin had paperback rights to Anthony Powell’s Dance to the Music of Time, the covers used drawings by OsbertLancaster. Later, when Powell moved publishers, there were drawings by Marc Boxer. Lancaster’s are less intrusive because they show places as much as people. Boxer’s comic impersonations put his ...
7 July 1988
Young Betjeman 
by Bevis Hillier.
Murray, 457 pp., £15.95, July 1988, 0 7195 4531 5
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... mother-in-law described him as a middle-class Dutchman, he must have thought himself out of the frying-pan into the fire: still a despised European. It made things worse that he detested abroad; OsbertLancaster said that Betjeman abroad had to be surrounded by friends, like a rugby player who has lost his shorts. He also disliked Betjemann, who, though a man of parts, was at times quarrelsome and ...

The Thought of Ruislip

E.S. Turner: The Metropolitan Line

2 December 2004
Metro-Land: British Empire Exhibition Number 
by Oliver Green.
Southbank, 144 pp., £16.99, July 2004, 1 904915 00 0
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... sounding off about brick boxes, bungaloid growths, shanty towns, dreary dormitories, the joke-lands of Mon Repos and Erzanmine and sunburst garden gates, the endless lines of ‘Tudor bypass’, as OsbertLancaster called it, broken only by pinched shops spatchcocked into parades and esplanades. In contrast, the publicity photographs of Metroland showed tree-sheltered homesteads of ineffable ...
1 December 2011
... last time I saw the place new owners had substantially rationalised it. It was, I now realise, a physical environment that would have been recognisable as that of a liberal, left-wing intellectual. OsbertLancaster could have put the decor into a Hampstead Garden Suburb drawing-room. The bedroom suite, the dining-room furniture and my father’s desk were copied by a local cabinetmaker from a Heal’s ...
28 September 1989
The Brideshead Generation: Evelyn Waugh and his Friends 
by Humphrey Carpenter.
Weidenfeld, 523 pp., £17.95, September 1989, 0 297 79320 9
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OsbertA Portrait of Osbert​ Lancaster 
by Richard Boston.
Collins, 256 pp., £17.50, August 1989, 0 00 216324 1
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Ackerley: A Life of J.R. Ackerley 
by Peter Parker.
Constable, 465 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 0 09 469000 6
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... As a profound fantasist he was deeply sympathetic to the Californian fantasy of burial, and the tour de force is also a sober labour of love. This Waugh has affiliations with Richard Boston’s OsbertLancaster, the portrait of a connoisseur of social oddity who also loved it steadily and whole. Boston is discriminatingly informative about Lancaster’s achievement as artist and cartoonist, and ...

At the Wallace Collection

Peter Campbell: Osbert Lancaster’s Promontory

25 September 2008
... An exhibition of OsbertLancaster’s drawings, cartoons, illustrations and set and costume designs, selected by James Knox, will begin at the Wallace Collection on 2 October. Lancaster was a short man with a big head, strikingly large blue eyes, a curled moustache and a dandy’s taste for very good, but emphatic clothes (pink shirts, bow ties). He surveyed English society from a ...

Gilded Drainpipes

E.S. Turner: London

10 June 1999
The London Rich: The Creation of a Great City from 1666 to the Present 
by Peter Thorold.
Viking, 374 pp., £25, June 1999, 0 670 87480 9
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The Rise of the Nouveaux Riches: Style and Status in Victorian and Edwardian Architecture 
by Mordaunt Crook.
Murray, 354 pp., £25, May 1999, 0 7195 6040 3
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... built for the Duke of Sutherland who did so much to cleanse the Highlands of its aboriginal inhabitants still flourished, a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace. It was this establishment, now Lancaster House, which so impressed Queen Victoria that she said to the second duchess: ‘I come from my house to your palace.’ The London Rich has much useful information on the nature of leases, the ...
2 December 1982
The ‘Private Eye’ Story: The First 21 Years 
by Patrick Marnham.
Private Eye/Deutsch, 232 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 233 97509 8
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One for the Road: Further Letters of Denis Thatcher 
by Richard Ingrams and John Wells.
Private Eye/Deutsch, 80 pp., £2.50, October 1982, 9780233975115
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Sir James Goldsmith: The Man and the Myth 
by Geoffrey Wansell.
Fontana, 222 pp., £1.95, April 1982, 0 00 636503 5
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... anti-Establishment magazine has always lived comfortably within the body of the Establishment. By birth, education and marriage, most of its main contributors are respectably upper-middle-class (OsbertLancaster recently dubbed Ingrams ‘a terrible snob’); it was founded with private money, and now, like other flourishing firms, boasts a pension scheme and a company villa in the Dordogne ...
12 July 1990
Miscellaneous Verdicts: Writings on Writers 1946-1989 
by Anthony Powell.
Heinemann, 501 pp., £20, May 1990, 9780434599288
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Haydn and the Valve Trumpet 
by Craig Raine.
Faber, 498 pp., £20, June 1990, 0 571 15084 5
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... the novel, the diary, the biography. Literature is for him, to a large extent, what he calls in a Conrad essay the study ‘of human nature at close range’. And in another, speaking of OsbertLancaster, he names ‘temperament’ as ‘the overriding element in any artist’. For all his evident if reticent romanticism, Powell is absorbed by the literary as a study of human life – a concept that ...

Ach so, Herr Major

Nicholas Horsfall: Translating Horace

23 June 2005
Horace: Odes and Epodes 
edited by Niall Rudd.
Harvard, 350 pp., £14.50, June 2004, 0 674 99609 7
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... were read by ‘a shaggy, shabby old scholar’, T.E. Page. In 1981, Niall Rudd wrote a short biography of the scholar and controversialist, who taught classics at Charterhouse, was once seen by OsbertLancaster accompanying Lady Asquith down Bond St, and died a Companion of Honour and a trustee of the Reform Club. Page was an admirable Latinist, independent, commonsensical, and sharply aware of a ...

The Undesired Result

Gillian Darley: Betjeman’s bêtes noires

31 March 2005
Betjeman: The Bonus of Laughter 
by Bevis Hillier.
Murray, 744 pp., £25, October 2004, 0 7195 6495 6
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... Stockwood, surrounded by Arab boys, camp churchmen and Beverley Nichols, takes the credit for widening Betjeman’s horizons, leading him and Elizabeth Cavendish regularly abroad in a group that OsbertLancaster (one of Betjeman’s most steadfast friends) christened ‘the Church of England Ramblers Association’. Betjeman’s hate figures could not be counted as enemies, since many of them were ...

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