Pont: Graham Laidler, and the British Character

A quick aside from my musings on Greece and our trip to Spetses.

I’m working towards an Exhibition in August here in Cheltenham of drawings that go under the title of “The British Character”. This project was inspired by the finding of a small book that I found in a charity shop by the same name which had an intro by the late Alan Coren – now there was a funny man.The drawings in this book are by Pont, who’s real name was Graham Laidler. Mr Laidler was one of the country’s leading cartoonists in the late 1930’s and had a perceptive eye for the way of the British, as well as wonderful draughtsmanship skills. I have used his ideas as the basis for my own interpretations and drawings for the exhibition.

I thought it right in the circumstances that I might invite relatives of Pont to the Exhibition to see a modern take on his thoughts, so I embarked on a search to find them. Everyone I asked has been quick to respond but until today I have had little positive feedback. An email to the Cartoon Museum has today resulted in a positive response and someone who knows of living relatives. As I write I am waiting to see if there will be more, and if I am able to invite them down here in August. A big thanks to Anita O’Brien at the Cartoon Museum for her help.

I’ve never been to the Cartoon Museum, perhaps I should!  Cartoon Museum in London


The British Character
A capacity for invention linked to great optimism

You can see some of Pont’s fine work here and even buy one of his originals.
Pont at Punch     Chris Beetles Gallery

“If I were you I would n’t start from here”

So goes the alleged first line of directions to a driver in Ireland. Now I’ve been to Ireland and the only time I got directions was from a taxi driver in Dublin when trying to find my way to a particular street where awaited a bed and breakfast for myself and family. As I got back into the car my other half asked me what he’d suggested.

“I have absolutely no idea what he said to me his accent was so thick, but he did smile a lot giving the impression that the place would be hard to find”

As I drove off and took the next left I could feel that he was watching me having probably told me to take the next right, right?

This was of course well before the invention of sat nav and nothing could give that frisson of excitement as one set off knowing that we’d get lost at least twice on any trip. Even with the benefit of sat nav, which I have but failed to switch on my last trip to Yorkshire. I became overconfident of my sense of direction and managed to circle Sheffield before plunging into the centre to find myself again, making a journey from Holmfirth to Sheffield at least 20 minutes longer than it needed to be.

All this to illustrate what I’ve been working on recently. It’s a continuation of a set of drawing about the British, based on the work of cartoonist “Pont” who was actually someone called Graham Laidler ( The man himself ) and did a series of cartoons about the British in the 1930’s. I’m doing my best to bring this up to date and will be exhibiting the drawings both here and for real at a Gallery in Cheltenham in the Summer. A deadline that I hope I can find.driver207sf

This particular one is perhaps not quite as up to date as I think, as although there is a sat nav in the car, none of them is looking at it and all of them, bar the driver, think they know where they should be going. This is the line work, not the final drawing. I’ll post the final one if it reaches the ‘cut’ with the others later in the year.