The great illustrator Ronald Searle turned 90 yesterday. He was interviewed on the Channel 4 News. He's still working, and smart as a whip and very funny. It is interesting to see his desk and drawing tools. I was surprised to learn that he is more highly regarded in France, Germany, and the US than his native country of England. A blog about Searle posted a recent profile from the Times Online:
For years he and [wife] Monica travelled the globe. She, too, is a survivor: she was treated for breast cancer in 1970 [Searle was a POW in WWII and almost died of malaria and beriberi]. They remain as interdependent as newlyweds, their 50-year togetherness reflected in their symbiotic duologue, finishing each other's sentences. "If our relationship hadn't worked so beautifully," he says, "you couldn't spend 24 hours a day here. We both respect our own corners." They meet at 6.30pm to watch a "ghastly" TV quiz, Questions Pour Un Champion. Monica cooks. "An ideal life, because I am a solitary person, and Monica lets me concentrate on my work." "The phone hasn't rung in this house for 20 years," Monica says. "He chose that it should never ring again, and had the bell switched off." Yet they are clearly gregarious; they send Christmas cards, and welcome friends.