Friday, 1 February 2008

Almost as good as Rolf Harris

I went to London yesterday evening to attend the private view of an exhibition of Chris Riddell's political cartoons for the Observer newspaper. Chris was genuinely worried that no one was going to turn up, but it was packed.

There can have been few people since the days of E H Sheppard and Tenniel, who have had such success and acclaim in the two wildly differing worlds of newspapers and children's books. I sat next to Chris for years at the Economist and I buy the Observer every week, so the quality of his cartoons and the effortless drawing skill came as no surprise. But it was refreshing to hear the editor of the Observer praise his cartoonist so highly and to state so unreservedly how important Chris is to the paper.

The exhibition runs until April 11 at The Newsroom, 60 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3GA. It is a great show in a very smart gallery space and there is a display case with some of Chris's sketchbooks and children's books. For further information call 02078869898 or visit guardian.co.uk/newsroom. Go along and see a real star at the top of his game.

Oh - and if you are wondering about the heading for this piece, it was said to Chris by a small child during a school visit he made as an illustrator many years ago. Still - that 'almost' gives him some hope.

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