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Bentley, Nicolas

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Bentley, Nicolas

Original artwork and prints by Nicolas Bentley.

Nicolas Clerihew Bentley was a British author and illustrator, best known for his humorous artworks in both books and magazines in the 1930s and 1940s. He is perhaps most famous for his illustration of the second edition Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot, the first being quickly withdrawn to allow for Bentley’s illustrated version.

Born in Hampstead, Bentley was educated at the University College School, London, until he chose to instead enrol at Heatherley’s School of Art. After eighteen months, Bentley left without completing his program of study, and subsequently worked, among other things, and a film extra and circus clown. Later working in advertising, the critical success of his first full project Hillaire Beloc’s New Cautionary Tales left Bentley financially secure enough to pursue the career he desired in cartoon and illustration.

Habitually using the by-line ‘Nicolas Bentley drew the pictures’, he worked on more that seventy separate illustrative projects throughout his career. A prolific cartoonist, Bentley also worked on numerous newspapers and magazines, often signing his initials NB, or conversely in a symmetrical pattern inspired by American cartoonist Ralph Barton. Peter Harrington maintains an extensive collection of these prints.

Bentley often drew figures without background or setting, making much use of solid blacks and only rarely working in colour. After making a detailed pencil rough he worked "half-up" in size, using a Gillott 303 pen and indian ink, with a brush for large areas of black. He occasionally also worked in chalk. Nicolas Bentley died in Somerset on 14 August 1978

Original artwork and prints by Nicolas Bentley.

Nicolas Clerihew Bentley was a British author and illustrator, best known for his humorous artworks in both books and magazines in the 1930s and 1940s. He is perhaps most famous for his illustration of the second edition Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot, the first being quickly withdrawn to allow for Bentley’s illustrated version.

Born in Hampstead, Bentley was educated at the University College School, London, until he chose to instead enrol at Heatherley’s School of Art. After eighteen months, Bentley left without completing his program of study, and subsequently worked, among other things, and a film extra and circus clown. Later working in advertising, the critical success of his first full project Hillaire Beloc’s New Cautionary Tales left Bentley financially secure enough to pursue the career he desired in cartoon and illustration.

Habitually using the by-line ‘Nicolas Bentley drew the pictures’, he worked on more that seventy separate illustrative projects throughout his career. A prolific cartoonist, Bentley also worked on numerous newspapers and magazines, often signing his initials NB, or conversely in a symmetrical pattern inspired by American cartoonist Ralph Barton. Peter Harrington maintains an extensive collection of these prints.

Bentley often drew figures without background or setting, making much use of solid blacks and only rarely working in colour. After making a detailed pencil rough he worked "half-up" in size, using a Gillott 303 pen and indian ink, with a brush for large areas of black. He occasionally also worked in chalk. Nicolas Bentley died in Somerset on 14 August 1978

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  1. “Frankly, I feel more hopeful about Agreement in the Ascot Stakes than in Geneva.”
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    BENTLEY, Nicolas.

    “Frankly, I feel more hopeful about Agreement in the Ascot Stakes than in Geneva.” 1959

    £350

    The Geneva Conference of Foreign Ministers, begun on 10 May 1959, attempted to find new solutions to the problems of Cold War diplomacy, though not much was achieved. The cartoons and illustrations of Nicolas Bentley (1907-1978) were part of the warp and weft of English … Read more

  2. Cowboy’s Dinner
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    BENTLEY, Nicolas.

    Cowboy’s Dinner [c.1960s]

    £225

    A caricature cowboy eats a caricature cowboy dinner watching a caricature cowboy film. The cartoons and illustrations of Nicolas Bentley (1907-1978) were part of the warp and weft of English popular culture in the 1950s and 60s. Never savage, though often waspishly accurate and exuding … Read more

Displaying 2 out of 2