Exhibition celebrates the life of Beano cartoonist, Robert T Nixon

The life of cartoonist Robert T Nixon has been celebrated this summer, with an exhibition of his work at the Kirkleatham Museum, near Redcar. It closes on 31st August, so if you live nearby or are having a holiday in the area, why not give it a visit.

Robert T Nixon Exhibition - Kirkleatham Museum 2008

Nixon, who worked on comics such as The Beano, The Dandy and Whoopee, died six years ago and his daughter, Catherine Nixon, says his family wanted everyone to enjoy his public and private work.

The exhibition includes examples of both his comics work and the landscape drawings he drew privately, along with his fantasy illustrations.

Born in South Bank, Nixon moved to Guisborough with his family in the early 1960s. He worked as a cartoonist for DC Thomson and Fleetway.

“My dad died six years ago and putting on an exhibition of his work was something he had wanted to do, but never got around to it,” Catherine, who lives in Saltburn, told local paper The Advertiser. “We just thought it would be a nice thing to do.

“One of the things about my dad’s work is that it’s so diverse, so, hopefully, there is something for everyone to enjoy.”

The exhibition runs until Sunday 31st August 2008 at Kirkleatham Museum. Entrance is free. Within the gallery is a Comics Workshop area where you can create your own comic strips and design your won comic characters. Or sit in the quiet corner and enjoy our collection of comics and annuals.

• More about Robert T. Nixon: www.artienne.co.uk/abouttheartist.htm

Kirkleatham Museum (Updated Link) | More details about No Boundaries: An exhibition of the work of Robert T Nixon on the Kirkleatham Museum web site (Wayback Link)

Lambiek profile of Robert T. Nixon

Robert T. Nixon obituary in The Guardian (2002) by Paul Gravett

Robert Thomas Nixon (1939 – 2002)

(From the Robert T. Nixon web site, now defunct, snapshot on Wayback)

Robert T. Nixon (1985)
Robert T. Nixon (1985)

Robert Thomas Nixon (Bob Nixon) was born in South Bank, Middlesbrough, in North Yorkshire on July 7th, 1939. He was the fifth of six children born to Arthur Nixon and Phylis Thompson. Robert’s mother Phylis worked as a housewife while his father worked locally as a steelworker. As a child, he spent much of his time drawing and sketching, and his artistic skills were recognised when he was seven years old by teachers at Cromwell Road School which he attended in South Bank.

During his early years as an artist, and supported by teachers at the Central Secondary Modern School (Victoria Street, Southbank), Robert won several art competitions and a scholarship to Middlesbrough art college in 1955 when he was sixteen.

Although his time at art college was cut short by the death of his father, Bob gained employment locally as a lithographic artist and left in 1965 to pursue his career as a full-time cartoonist, initially for DC Thomson’s of Dundee. During this transition Robert met and married Rita Kelly and after living in Middlesbrough for several years they moved to Guisborough in Cleveland where they raised their four children – Paul, Tony, Wendy and Catherine.

In 1972, Bob left Thomson’s, selling his work to Fleetway publishers – the comic division of the International Publishing Corporation (IPC) – for the next 13 years before returning to Thomson’s in 1985 – where he was employed until his death in 2002. Whilst self-employed, Bob worked for several publishers designing greetings cards, joke book covers and illustrations, and company logos etc.

Robert Nixon Comic Art for Buster - "School Team" for the issue cover dated 27th July 1985
Robert Nixon Comic Art for Buster – “School Team” for the issue cover dated 27th July 1985

Working from his home in Guisborough, Bob enjoyed his life as a cartoonist for over 35 years, and is best known for his work in Dandy, Beano, Whoopee, Monster Fun, and Shiver & Shake comics, ‘ghosting’ many popular comic characters such as ‘Lord Snooty’ , ‘Roger the Dodger’, ‘Korky the Cat’, ‘Frankie Stein’, and bringing to life his own creations, including ‘Kid Kong’, ‘Gums’, ‘King Arthur and his Frights of the Round Table’ and ‘Ivy the Terrible’. (More information here)

"Glass Galleon" by Robert T. Nixon
“Glass Galleon” by Robert T. Nixon

In addition to his skills as a cartoonist, Bob also enjoyed drawing and painting for his own pleasure. Using pastels, oils, watercolours, inks, pencils, and scraper-boards, Bob developed unique styles in surreal and fantasy art, art for children, landscapes and other scenes of nature.

With thanks to Jeremy Briggs

Categories: British Comics, Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Events, Exhibitions

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1 reply

  1. Hey I went to this last week with my family, great artwork on display ! Made a small post about it on my Blog of War also !

    Neat blog you have here !!

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