“Arthur Ferrier’s Queens of Burlesque” in the works from Korero Press

Korero Press are working on a new book, Arthur Ferrier’s Queens of Burlesque, the publication date yet to be announced. The London-based publisher has set up an Instagram account to publicise the upcoming crowdfunded project.

Arthur Ferrier's Queens of Burlesque (Korero Press)

For those unfamiliar, Arthur Ferrier (15th November 1890 – 27th May 1973) was a cartoonist, caricaturist, illustrator and painter, best known for his pin-up pictures and cartoons featuring leggy blondes, his work very popular with the troops during World War Two.

Ferrier was born in Glasgow, where he first studied to become an analytical chemist, at the same time, encouraged by George Whitelaw, cartoonist on the Glasgow Evening News, to send cartoons to the local newspapers. He married Evelyn Brown, another artist and illustrator, also known as “Molly”, in 1918.

Ferrier also painted during World War One, some of this work is in the collection of the Imperial War Museum in London. He also produced a set of drawings used on sets of china ware from the Royal Albert China Collections.

He moved to London in 1919, drawing cartoons for a number of weekly magazines, including Punch, The Humorist and London Opinion.

In 1930, he produced a weekly strip glamour cartoon called “Film Fannie“,  becoming a pioneer of the glamour girl cartoon in Britain. From 1923, he also drew a regular theatrical review for the News of the World.

The London-based paper the Sunday Pictorial published his glamour drawing under the title “Our Dumb Blonde“, which ran from 1939 to 1946.

"Going Dippy" by Arthur Ferrier
Panels from an episode of "Spotlight on Sally" by Arthur Ferrier
Panels from an episode of “Spotlight on Sally” by Arthur Ferrier

Spotlight on Sally” began in the Sunday Pictorial in 1945, a strip that Michael Hubbard, the artist who took over “Jane” in the Daily Mirror from creator Norman Pett was clearly much taken by; followed by another, “Eve“, which ran from 1953 until 1956.

Ferrier retired from News of the World in 1959, but continued to do commercial and advertising work, producing magazine covers and fashion plates, as well as painting portraits in oils of society figures and stage stars.

His wife, Evelyn, also known as Molly, died in Wandsworth in 1974, although to the world at large, his friend Richard Byrne notes he had another, different ‘wife’, a much younger woman called Freda who had lived with the couple since about 1938.

“Freda did not in fact know that Molly was his wife until after he died,” Richard noted in 2019. “She believed Molly was the widow of Arthur’s brother, but that brother was in fact still alive!… it was all very tangled indeed.

“Arthur almost always drew from life – even for the most basic cartoon, he reckoned that he could only draw what he could see,” Richard also noted. “I remember that even when he was bed-ridden at the last, he was visited by women who had modelled for him as far back as he 1920s.”

“Vintage good girl art and one-liners. What’s not to like?” declare the publishers of their upcoming book.

Arthur Ferrier's Queens of Burlesque (Korero Press) - Coming Soon

At the heart of Korero Press do is a love of lowbrow and kustom kulture. Their list, which also includes brilliant titles such as Rian Hughes superb Rayguns and Rocketships and the upcoming two-book release devoted to Brazilian horror comics maestro, Jayme Cortez, is mainly made up of pop culture, street art, erotica and horror titles. They’ve also published books by such renowned contemporary artists as Ron English, Patrick J. Jones and Derek Yaniger.

Check out the dedicated Instagram page: instagram.com/queensofburlesque

• Korero Press: koreropress.com

• Steve Holland has examples of Arthur Ferrier’s “Film Fannie” strip on his Bear Alley Blog – and there are a number of comments expanding on Ferrier’s life and perhaps unusual relationships

The British Cartoon Archive holds a number of Arthur Ferrier’s works and has a profile of him here

Lambiek: Arthur Ferrier Profile

Arthur Ferrer art at the John Noott Galleries | John Noott Galleries, The Viewing Room, Lower High Street, Broadway, Worcestershire WR12 7AE

Arthur Ferrier art at the Political Cartoon Gallery

Categories: Art and Illustration, Books, British Comics, British Comics - Newspaper Strips, Comics, downthetubes News, Other Worlds

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