Donald McGill – The Picasso of The Pier

Donald McGill

“The King of Comic Postcards … the Picasso of the pier” (Dennis Potter).

This exhibition comprises over 100 hilarious and rumbustious cartoons by Donald McGill, the master of the saucy seaside postcard. For over six decades, his 12,000 designs provided an essential element of the British holiday, and celebrated social life at its most unbuttoned. However, the bulging bodies and revealing costumes, the innuendos and double-entendres, eventually proved too much for the censors, and in 1954, McGill and his publisher were prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act, and thousands of their postcards had to be destroyed.

However, McGill’s images live on in the national memory as a great popular art. As a result, a museum and archive devoted to the artist and his work opened at Ryde, on the Isle of Wight, in 2010. And, though the museum has now closed, the original artworks in its possession are available for sale through Chris Beetles – a must for collectors of cartoons and illustrations. The accompanying catalogue is fully illustrated, and contains an essay by James Bissell-Thomas, founder and curator of the Donald McGill Museum, on its rise and fall.

In addition to the exhibition and catalogue, Chris Beetles is pleased to launch Bernard Crossley’s Donald McGill: Postcard Artist, the first comprehensive biography of this extraordinary subject.

Of Donald McGill, George Orwell once said: “The special value of his post cards is that they are so completely typical”

The Art of Donald McGill’, 1941).

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One Response to Donald McGill – The Picasso of The Pier

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    James Bissell-Thomas November 2, 2014 at 10:09 pm #

    just to say that the Donald McGill Museum has not closed but relocated to The Royal Victoria Arcade in Ryde. Well worth a visit as one of the new exhibits shows the only surviving film footage of Donald. See you there!

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