An auction at Eldreds Auctioneers, Plymouth taking play next week includes some Billy Bunter artwork, credited to Reg Parlett but some of it – possibly all – is by Albert Pease.
Being framed, any border information as to appearance details is obscured. The catalogue incorrectly lists the assumed artist as “Porlett”.
On offer are three groups of pen and ink comic strip artwork featuring Billy Bunter. Featuring a mixture of Billy’s misadventures, including a trip to a museum, the largest piece measures 44 x 38cm and from both style and layout almost certainly appears to be a page from the first series of Knockout, drawn by Albert Pease, with the two framed as one, 27 x 40cm and 21 x 40cm which might be by Reg Parlett, but, dependent on date of creation, which is unknown, we also thinks these are by Pease, especially if they are also from Knockout.
Also on offer are several 1930s/40s Rupert Bear annuals.
Created by Charles Hamilton, under the pen-name Frank Richards, Billy Bunter, a character now owned by Rebellion, first appeared in the story paper The Magnet in 1908. He appeared in all but 13 of The Magnet‘s 1683 issues between then and 1940, illustrated by C. H. Chapman.
Hamilton went on to write a series of Bunter novels from 1947 until his death in 1961.
Chapman also drew Bunter’s initial comic strip appearances in the first series of Knockout in 1940, followed by other artists. Frank Minnitt then had a long run on the character, drawing him until 1958, followed, briefly, by Eric Roberts (who’s perhaps best known for his work on strips such as “Mike”, also for Knockout, and “Winker Watson”, for The Dandy), Albert T. Pease (better known as Charlie), who had previously been known for his splendid “Casey Court” illustrations on the back of Chips for many years, and Reg Parlett.
When Knockout was cancelled, and merged with Valiant in 1963, Pease continued to draw episodes of the strip until his death in 1964,
Bunter’s adventures continued in Valiant, with Parlett drawing the bulk of the strips, some written by Nobby Clark (who also wrote some of the “Bessie Bunter” strips, who appeared in The Schoolgirl and June).
Billy Bunter remained a popular character in comics for decades. Buster comic marked his popularity with 80th birthday celebrations in the issue cover dated 2nd August 1984, with a 1989 issue of Big Comic Fortnightly marking his 85th.
The character also featured in Polystyle Publications TV Comic.
Billy enjoyed appearances in other media, too, including television, with Gyles Brandreth unsuccessfully trying to revive him in the 1970s, acquiring the rights, writing a pilot script, and lining up quite a cast (including Christopher Biggins as the boy Bunter, Robert Morley as his pater, and Sir John Gielgud, no less, as the school’s headmaster).
Among the Rupert the Bear books on offer in the Collectors’ Items & Books, Stamps, Coins, Medals & Toys” auction is a 1921 first edition of The Adventures of Rupert, The Little Lost Bear by his creator Mary Tourtel, published by Thomas Nelson, along with many other rare and highly collectible early appearances.
There are a number of lots of Rupert the Bear figurines, too, produced by companies such as Arden Sculptures, Beswick and Royal Doulton; plus stuffed toys, bears, of course, and more.
The auction also features a number of early James Bond hardback editions by Ian Fleming, many lots of model trains, toy cars, Steiff bears and more. Quite an assortment!
• The “Collectors’ Items & Books, Stamps, Coins, Medals & Toys” auction is at Eldreds Auctioneers in Plymouth on the 27th April 2021
• Eldreds Auctions 1 Belliver Way, Roborough, Plymouth, PL6 7BP Tel: (01752) 721199 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
WEB LINKS – BILLY BUNTER ARTISTS AND WRITERS
With thanks to Allan Woollcombe