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Feedback: Another famous artist

Last month's story about the eccentric Austrian artist Frederick Hundertwasser and his funny dunny in Kawakawa, New Zealand, prompted Ian Scott-Parker, an English-born resident of Hurricane, Utah (US) to send us his boyhood memories of the famous and witty British artist Osbert Lancaster's visit to his school 30 years ago:

The Times (London) once organized a lecture tour around British schools, given to sixth form pupils by (later Sir) Osbert Lancaster (1908-1986) the theatrical designer, writer, and cartoonist (pioneer of the 'pocket cartoon' documenting the activities of Maudie Littlehampton’s Willy).

Osbert did a 'compare and contrast' section on the differences between the broadsheets and the tabloids. I remember him saying that an alliterative 'B' headline was a sure sign of a low quality tabloid.

As best I remember, Osbert's example list was "birds, bottles, booze, and budgerigars". He dashed helter-skelter with wooden delivery (an achievement in itself) through his lecture notes, took a single quick question, gave an even shorter answer, and departed rapidly for some unknown destination.

Perhaps he needed a drink to compensate for being out in the sticks in the company of spotty teenagers.

Here's a brief extract from an internet biography:

Always finding the temptation of ‘scabrous indecency’ hard to resist, Sir Osbert could not, even by the most generous apologist, be deemed ‘politically correct’, at least by today’s rather blinkered standards... In one Signs of the Times sketch (23/11/1954), a well-attired diplomat waiting outside an embassy room casually asks his Italian counterpart sitting next to him, ‘Been to any good orgies lately?’

You can see two of Osbert Lancaster's sketches by clicking here.

And for more about Hundertwasser's Green Citadel in Magdeburg, East Germany, which we mentioned last month, click on Last-minute changes.

In the US capital, Washington DC, a character suspected of being the elusive BORF graffitist appeared in court again. You can read about him in the Washington Post.

In the West Indies, the St. Lucia Tourist Board has commissioned English pavement artist Julian Beever to create a 3D cricket image to promote the island's plans to host the England team in the 2007 Cricket World Cup.

And America's famous 3D artist Kurt Wenner has upset residents of his hometown, Santa Barbara, California, with his designs for "a 17,300-square-foot Byzantine-style" mansion to be built on a Montecito hillside.

"Montecito residents lambaste mansion," was the headline of a story in the Santa Barbara News-Press. "Calling it offensive, ostentatious and perhaps better suited for Las Vegas, Montecito residents had little positive to say at a meeting...

"Mr. Wenner said the style seemed appropriate for the Montecito hillside."

Story first posted December 2005

Copyright © 2005

Eric Shackle

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