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The Penkovsky Papers
  • 100791
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BENTLEY, Nicolas.

The Penkovsky Papers

Published: 1965

Stock code: 100791

Price: £250

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This item is on show at 43 Dover Street (map)

A daughter, holding up a copy of The Penkovsky Papers, asks, “Daddy, will you read me a fairy story?”. Oleg Vladimirovich Penkovsky, codename HERO, was a Soviet military intelligence spy who informed the West about Soviet missiles in Cuba – there was much concern that he was in fact a double agent giving deliberate misinformation, hence the droll cynicism of Bentley’s cartoon. The Penkovsky Papers: The The Russian Who Spied for the West (which took the view that he was a genuine defector) was published in 1965 by Doubleday, New York. 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 an urbane air of amusement at the foibles of his fellows, Bentley’s work was familiar to the public from a wide variety of publications. Between 1952 and 1954 he drew regular cartoons for the weekly Time and Tide, and after that for the daily News Chronicle. Between 1958 and 1962 he drew topical cartoons for the Daily Mail under the title “Watch My Line.” He also drew many portraits, in black and white line, of famous people, for various papers, including over sixty for the Sunday Telegraph, which began publication in February 1961.

Sheet size: 184 171 mm. Sunday Telegraph ink stamp to verso. Pen and ink on wove paper

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