“Unseen Art of Ron Embleton” exhibition announced

Art by Ron Embleton
Art by Ron Embleton

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.

Ron Embleton
Ron Embleton

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.

A charming painting by Ron Embleton, possibly used to illustrate the book Cinderella and The Sleeping Beauty (London, Collins, 1978)
A charming painting by Ron Embleton, possibly used to illustrate the book Cinderella and The Sleeping Beauty (London, Collins, 1978)

Art from many more of his projects is also available, though, including some of his terrific illustrations for children’s magazines.

An evocative painting by Ron Embleton used to illustrate the book Children's Favourite Stories, by Hans Christian Andersen, retold by Lornie Leete-Hodge (London, Dean, 1983)
An evocative painting by Ron Embleton used to illustrate the book Children’s Favourite Stories, by Hans Christian Andersen, retold by Lornie Leete-Hodge (London, Dean, 1983)

• The Unseen Art of Ron Embleton 9th January – 1st February 2019 Messum’s, 28 Cork Street, London, W1S 3NG Web: www.messums.com | YouTube | Twitter | Instagram

• 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

Published by

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", working as an editor, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years. His credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel UK and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines. He also edited STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics, including Team M.O.B.I.L.E. and The Beatles Story. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare” for Tian Books. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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