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About the Author: Osbert Lancaster

Born in London, Osbert Lancaster was educated at St Ronan's School, and then at Charterhouse and Lincoln College, Oxford.

He graduated with a fourth-class degree in English after an extra year beyond the normal three years of study. Intending a career in law, he failed his bar exams and instead entered the Slade School of Art in London.

Lancaster initially worked alongside Betjeman at 'The Architectural Review'. In 1936 he published 'Progress at Pelvis Bay', the first of his many books of social and architectural satire.

In 1939 he became cartoonist at the Daily Express, where he pioneered the Pocket Cartoon, a single-panel, single-column topical drawing appearing on the front page, since imitated in several British newspapers. In these he sympathetically mocked the British upper classes, personified by his characters William (8th Earl of Littlehampton, formerly Viscount Draynflete) and his wife Maudie.

During his Express career Lancaster drew some 10,000 cartoons over a period of 40 years.

During World War II, he worked in press censorship, then in Greece as a Foreign Office press attaché. During the war years his cartoons provided comic relief from the privations of rationing and bombing raids.

He received a knighthood and his other honours included a CBE in 1953 and an honorary DLitt from Oxford, as well as honorary degrees from Birmingham (1964), Newcastle upon Tyne (1970), and St Andrews (1974).

He was married twice, first, to Karen Elizabeth Harris, daughter of Sir Austen Harris, with whom he had a son, William and a daughter and second, after Karen died in 1964, to the journalist Anne Scott-James, whom he married in 1967 and who became his widow.

He died of natural causes, aged 77, in Chelsea. The obituary in The Times summed up his career with "The most polite and unsplenetic of cartoonists, he was never a crusader, remaining always a witty, civilized critic with a profound understanding of the vagaries of human nature." He is buried at West Winch, Norfolk.

His drawings and cartoons were the subject of an exhibition marking the centenary of his birth, entitled 'Cartoons and Coronets: The Genius of Osbert Lancaster' at The Wallace Collection from October 2008 to January 2009. Curated by James Knox and supported by the John R. Murray Charitable Trust of John Murray (publisher), it coincided with the publication of a new biography with the same title as the exhibition.

Osbert Lancaster's Cartoons, Columns and Curlicues Cover Image

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Including Pillar to Post, Homes Sweet Homes and Drayneflete Revealed by

Goodreads rating: 4.67

Hardcover, Published in Nov 2015 by Pimpernel Press

ISBN10: 1910258377 | ISBN13: 9781910258378

Page count: 304

A beautiful boxed-set containing three long out-of-print and influential books by the great British humorist, Sir Osbert Lancaster

Pillar to Post, the story of architecture through the ages, takes us in words and pictures from the Egypt of the pyramids to Twentieth Century Functional (by way of Stockbroker's Tudor and By-Pass Variegated). First published in 1938, it was described by Gavin Stamp as "One of the most influential books on architecture ever published." Homes Sweet Homes, first published in 1939, is a history of architectural interiors, and a sequel to Pillar to Post. It gives full scope to Lancaster's genius for showing people in their settings: the carousing Normans in the communal hall; the cocktail-drinking couple in Curzon Street Baroque; the First Russian Ballet lady outstretched on her day bed; the Cultured Cottage couple in their Arts & Crafts Interior. First published in 1949, Drayneflete Revealed traces the development of one particularly typical (invented) English town. Starting from its muddy Saxon origins—the Fleet River is the ancient river that runs in sewers under the City of London—it follows the changing fortunes of the architectural development from village to small city and the foibles and fashions of the inhabitants.

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