London’s Messum’s Gallery is to host an exhibition of work by Eagle and TV21 Ron Embleton in January, one of Britain’s best known comic and historical illustrators, with a reputation that stretched far beyond our shores.
Born in London on 6th October 1930, Ron(ald Sydney) Embleton began drawing as a young boy, submitting a cartoon to the News of the World at the age of 9 and, at 12, winning a national poster competition.
At 17, he earned himself a place in a commercial studio but soon left to work freelance, drawing comic strips for many of the small publishers who sprang up shortly after the war.
His biography on Book Palace notes he was soon drawing for the major publishers. His most fondly remembered strips include “Strongbow the Mighty” in Mickey Mouse Weekly, “Wulf the Briton” in Express Weekly, “Wrath of the Gods” in Boys’ World, “Tales of the Trigan Empire” and “Johnny Frog” in Eagle and “Stingray” in TV Century 21.
Embleton also provided the illustrations that appeared in the title credits for the Captain Scarlet TV series, and dozens of paintings for prints and newspaper strips.
A meticulous artist, his illustrations appeared in Look and Learn for many years, amongst them the historical series “Roger’s Rangers”.
Sadly, Embleton died on 13th February 1988 at the age of just 57.
Ron’s obituary in The Times justly described him as “a grand master of his art” following his death in 1988.
Less well known, however, was his equally energetic career as a painter. In fact, being a painter had been his life’s ambition – his “driving force”, according to his daughter Gillian.
It was only his remarkable success as an illustrator that in the end permanently diverted him from the painter’s path.
Messum’s – who represent the Estate of Ronald Sydney Embleton – are staging the first retrospective of Ron Embleton’s oil paintings in “The Unseen Art of Ron Embleton“, which opens 9th January 2019.
This major exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with an introduction by David Boyd Haycock, the well known author of A Crisis of Brilliance: Five Young British Artists and the Great War, published to critical acclaim in 2009. Haycock’s knowledge of early Twentieth Century British Art is key to understanding the paintings of Embleton, who was a young pupil of David Bomberg and from whom he learnt about form, honesty and a belief in his own vision.
In David Boyd Haycock’s words, “The rediscovery of this long forgotten-post war painter is essential viewing.”
In the run up to this rare exhibition, the Book Palace has been selling a selection of art from the Embleton family archives – including 60 pages of Ron’s racy strip for Penthouse, “Oh, Wicked Wanda“.
Many sold very quickly, so you’ll have to be quick to buy any remaining if you are interested.
Art from many more of his projects is also available, though, including some of his terrific illustrations for children’s magazines.
• You can order The Unseen Art of Ron Embleton catalogue here – or download it as a PDF
• To enquire about available work by Ronald Sydney Embleton, please contact the gallery directly
With thanks for the heads up on this to Dave Elliott, David Roach and Rajesh Shah