“Young man, do I look like Dennis Stafford?”
Burglar Dennis Stafford had escaped from Wormwood Scrubs in 1956; recaptured in Trinidad in 1957 he was re-incarcerated in Dartmoor, only to escape again. Six weeks later he was arrested in Leicester Square, and this time served the remainder of his sentence. 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.
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Sheet size: 192 140 mm. Pen and black ink with blue crayon on wove paper. Stamped on verso for publication in the Daily Mail, 9 January 1959, and with pencil reproduction instructions recto.