M Bateman 1887 - 1970
20th century cartoonist and caricaturist
To many admirers of the art of the cartoon, H.M.Bateman is the most
original, the most various, the most brilliant – and, indeed, the
funniest – genius of his times. Born in 1887, he was already drawing for
publication in his early teens. Astonishingly prolific and inventive,
everything he saw became material, so that his work can be read as a
social history of Britain in the first half of the 20th Century and, to
an extraordinary degree, as a kind of autobiography. His family and
friends; his trips to the fair, to the seaside, abroad; his passions for
the Music Hall, for tap-dancing, for boxing, for fishing, for golf; his
desperate experiences in the First World War; his car, his house, his
vacuum-cleaner; his triumphs and disasters over many years – all find
their way in to his cartoons.
His style developed and changed radically over the years. From the
graceful and rhythmical lines of his earlier work to the stark
brilliance of his strip cartoons and the furious energy of his “Man Who
...” series, his essential qualities of superb draughtsmanship,
astonishing observation and a profound appreciation of humanity’s
foibles, are always married to a wonderful wit and narrative perfection.
He told marvellously funny stories in pictures.