Scott Miller writes:
It may be of interest to some that Ronald Searle passed away recently. In addition to his many other works, he was a medalist of some note, having designed medals for the British Art Medal Society, Paris Mint, and others.
The obituary doesn't touch on Searle's numismatic work, but it's interesting.
Born in Cambridge in 1920, his talent as an artist was clear early on. Even as a teenager his cartoons appeared in the local newspaper. Then, when World War II started, Searle joined the army.
At 22, he was captured in Singapore by the Japanese. He spent the rest of the war in appalling, lethal conditions - at first in prison and then as a forced labourer, building the Burma railway in Thailand
He later said that what he witnessed as a prisoner of war marked him for life. "I was in conditions of total isolation, total brutality - it was slavery. I woke up day after day with men dead on each side of me."
Searle made hundreds of small sketches of the squalor and misery, sometimes hiding them under the bodies of men dying of cholera and fever.
He did not expect to survive.
"What kept me going was that, if I could only show people what it had been like, I would have achieved something in the short life I was likely to have."
But he did make it through the war, and returned to Britain to begin a slow return to physical health. Soon, he was supplying cartoons to magazines of the day such as The Strand and Punch.
To read the complete article, see:
Obituary: Ronald Searle
I located these images of a 1981 Searle medal commemorating Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) and Trafalgar.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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