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‘Pont’ (Graham Laidler) was born in 1908. His pseudonym derived from a nickname, Pontifex Maximus, acquired during a visit to Rome. Following his family’s wishes, he trained as an architect, but by his mid-twenties had become one of Punch’s most prolific and successful cartoonists. He published several collections, the most popular of which being The British Character, which lampoons the national foibles of the British. Pont suffered from tuberculosis, and died in 1940 of at the age of 32, leaving behind some four hundred cartoons.
The National Character Observed by PONT
‘I have recently been enjoying a new edition of cartoons by the wonderful Thirties cartoonist Pont. Called The British: The National Character Observed (Duckworth, £20), the book includes Pont’s most famous sequence, The British Character, in which, with beautiful wit, he illustrated national characteristics prevalent at the time ... Some of Pont’s cartoons seem amazingly prescient, almost as though they had been drawn only yesterday’ Craig Brown Daily Mail, Columnist of the Year
‘Pont’s penmanship is an appealing mixture of rough, scribbly shading, block black shadows, and exquisitely fine detail in the right places’ Guardian
A classic collection showing our national foibles, by the celebrated and much-loved cartoonist
An assertion of the importance of tea. A keen interest in the weather. A fondness for laughing at your own anecdotes. A weakness for oak beams. A tendency to over-indulge dogs. The British haven't changed much since the 1930s when Pont's first witty and hilarious observations on the national character appeared in Punch magazine.
Pont’s plump rolling-pin wielding cooks and solar-topee’d imperialists capture a distinct moment in British inter-war history, but his observations of character are timeless. In the nursery, at the opera, or in the bath, in tweed or tennis whites or bowler hat, Pont conjures distinct, complete personalities with a few strokes of his pen.
Charming, idiosyncratic and – above all – wonderfully funny, this unforgettable collection will bring Pont’s extraordinary talent to a new generation in a beautiful single volume.