Wally Fawkes and Humphrey Lyttelton: Trog, Flook and Humph at Cartoon Museum

| 08 January 2013
An image of a large black and white pencil illustration of a man gurning
© Wally Fawkes

Exhibition Preview: Trog, Flook – and Humph too, The Cartoon Museum, London, until April 28 2013

When legendary satirist Wally Fawkes – aka Trog – retired from the Sunday Telegraph in 2005, he was ending his 62-year career in cartoons at perhaps the most moderate of all the publications to have enlisted his rapier services.

An image of a cartoon illustration of a man in a suit smiling
Duke Ellington (2005). Book cover design© Wally Fawkes
Flook, his best-known character, earned prominence at the end of the 1940s within the pages of the Daily Mail, who Trog initially abated with column-breaking cartoons by Humphrey Lyttelton, his fellow wry-eyed illustrator and lifelong friend.

Alan Coren, the editor who oversaw their stint at Punch, described Fawkes and Lyttelton – or Humph, as he signed his works – as “two brilliant polymaths”, initially united by a love of New Orleans jazz and cartooning.

Lyttelton invited Fawkes to play clarinet in his newly-formed band in 1948 and, despite Fawkes departing to concentrate on his art eight years later, the pair remained as devoted to parping and harmonising as they did to their drawings during the decades which followed.

The similarities between jazz and art par excellence have frequently been noted by artists. Fawkes cites each field’s particular ability to produce “‘variations which bring out rather than mask the original melody, which comment on its essential qualities.”

An image of a black and white pencil illustration of an entertainer pursing his lips
Frankie Howerd© Wally Fawkes
The bone structure of a face, he feels, is “like the chord sequence which underpins a melody”, and the disparity of some of the publications enamoured by his vision is notable: the Observer (for whom he courted controversy thanks to some controversial depictions of the Queen), the New Statesman, The Times and Private Eye have been among them, portraying figures such as George Best, Francis Bacon, George Melly, Michael Jackson and Brigitte Bardot.

More than 120 cartoons, cartoon strips and caricatures appear here. The latter, says Raymond Briggs, are the most riveting.

“There is an astonishing sharp focus, particularly in the caricatures,” he says.

“It makes the characters seem larger than life, as if seen under a brilliant light and a powerful lens.”

More pictures:

An image of a black and white pencil illustration of a man in a suit playing a trumpet
Humphrey Lyttelton (1983)© Wally Fawkes
An image of a black and white illustration of a pair of feet above the word pardoned
Pardoned, Sunday Telegraph, following the posthumous pardon of Derek Bentley (August 2 1998)© Telegraph Group
An image of a black and white satirical illustration of a royal couple in a car with a baby
Prince Charles, Princess Diana and Prince William visit Australia. The Observer (March 1983)© Wally Fawkes
An image of a black and white illustration showing the silhouette of a woman walking
Queen Mum, following the death of the Queen Mother. Sunday Telegraph (April 7 2002)© Wally Fawkes
An image of a black and white illustration of a man in a suit and cravatte smiling
Sir John Gielgud© Wally Fawkes
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