Heritage Auctions is back up and running after being hit by a malware attack last Friday, forcing them to delay some auctions, but to celebrate its speedy return we thought we’d promote two items of British comic art, one by Captain Scarlet artist Ron Embleton, and the other by Peter Jackson, artist on the Eagle strip, “Saul of Tarsus“, although perhaps better known for his “London Scrapbooks” work for the London Evening News.
On offer in an auction taking place 24th October 2019 is Ron’s interpretation of the Battle of Crecy, for a 1966 issue of Purnell’s Finding Out Magazine, and a 1970s artwork by Peter depicting a Middle Ages Court for Look and Learn.
Ron Embleton‘s credits include providing covers and interior illustrations for publications such as Look and Learn, TV Century 21 and World of Wonder, and he also created the stunning illustrations that ran in the closing credits of the TV series Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons.
While his work is known in the US, largely for his work on the Penthouse adult comic strip “Oh, Wicked Wanda”, bids on these two items are currently quite low.
“The Battle of Crecy” art, signed “RSE”, ran as a two-page illustration on pages 22-23 in the first issue of Finding Out (Volume 16), and was collected in the 1968 hardcover Book of Battles. The piece also features a great sepia-toned spot illustration to the left of the colour work on the same 25.5″ x 16.5″ illustration board, used on the title page of the hardcover edition. The main image area measures approximately 24.5″ x 10″ total.
Born in 1922, Peter Jackson was a master of historical illustration, who began his career adapting classics into comic strips for newspapers in the late 1940s, which led to his long association with with London’s Evening News. His adaptation of Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe was printed as Thriller Comics Library 29, with additional frames by Patrick Nicolle, taken from his 1952 Sun strip.
His first Evening News strip was “London is Stranger than Fiction”, each strip carrying a question, the answer found in the margin by turning the paper upside down. “Fiction” was followed by a long sequence of cartoon series including “Queer Thing”, “Strange Stories of London”, “There’s a Tavern”, “Coronation Curiosities”, and “This Day in London’s Past”, his work on the paper spanning some 31 years, until the title’s merger with the Evening Standard in 1980. Some of his work for the paper has been collected, in London Explorer and London is Stranger Than Fiction. Each strip carried a question, and the answer could be found in the margin by turning the paper upside down.
“Fiction” was followed by a long sequence of cartoon series including “Queer Thing”, “Strange Stories of London”, “There’s a Tavern”, “Coronation Curiosities”, and “This Day in London’s Past”.
His work in comics and magazines also included illustrations and strip work for Look and Learn, Express Weekly, Swift, Mickey Mouse Weekly and Eagle, where he is perhaps known for drawing the back page adventure strips such as “David Livingstone”, “Marco Polo”, “Gordon of Khartoum” and “Saul of Tarsus”.
He became chairman of the London Topographical Society in 1974, an organisation he had joined in 1958, and was a founder member and chairman of the Ephemera Society when it was formed in 1975. Much of his working life was taken up with historical reconstructions and more, and his collection of maps, prints and artefacts from all ages of London formed the basis of a number of books, including London: 2000 Years of a City and Its People (with Felix Barker), described by Bernard Levin as “the best illustrated history of London”, and The History of London in Maps (with Peter Barber).
Peter was to have been the recipient of an OBE but, sadly, the announcement of this honour arrived a day after his death on 2nd May 2003, aged 81.
In a case of “Habeas Porcus“, it appears that a pig is on trial in this a richly coloured piece by Jackson, a Middle Ages High Court Illustration created for Look and Learn, his authorship of the art noted here on the official Look and Learn web site. The art measures one is produced in gouache on 25.75″ x 16.5″.
In an earlier statement about the outage, Heritage informed users of their hugely-popular site that client financial information (e.g. credit card, bank account info, etc.) is maintained by a third-party provider and was not affected by the attack.
(I’d suggest that it might be wise to change any password you have for the auction site itself, however)
All currently affected auctions have been extended or rescheduled and the company will notify users accordingly, so you can resume bidding and tracking, but bids placed anytime last Friday may have not been recorded, so please check your MyBids and update accordingly or contact client services for assistance.
PLEASE NOTE: This article was updated on 28th October 2019 to correct the artist credits, noting Peter Jackson as the artist on the Middle Ages court art, following information received by Lew Stringer, with thanks to Kevin O’Neill.
• “The Battle of Crecy” sold for $192
• “The Middle Ages Court” sold for $120