The cartoons made up 27 of the 98 lots of single-owner collection artworks from a private London club.
This section included several examples each by Max Beerbohm (1872-1956) and Graham ‘Pont’ Laidler (1908-40), as well as works by William Heath Robinson, Henry Mayo Bateman and George du Maurier. This provided a rare opportunity for collectors to acquire market-fresh illustrations by some of the most sought-after cartoonists of the last century.
Among the highlights was an 8 x 11in (21 x 28cm) Pont cartoon titled I’m Perfectly Aware of that, my good man…, depicting a club member refusing to budge from his chair, which teeters perilously close to a crater in the floor caused by a collapsed ceiling.
Pont, who was prolific despite his premature death at the age of just 32, excelled at satirising the British middle classes with his observations of ‘the British Character’. This example sold for £5500 against a £1000-1500 guide.
Another favourite among collectors was Max Beerbohm’s caricature of the great Irish playwright and critic, George Bernard Shaw. Beerbohm, who had succeeded Shaw as the theatre critic for the Saturday Review, wrote some 30 opening-night reviews of Shaw’s plays. It is said the pair had something of a love-hate relationship.
Exhibited at The Leicester Galleries, this 12 x 8in (31 x 20cm) watercolour sold for £3200 against a £1500-2000 estimate.