Ian Scott: Political cartoonist of the 1950s

Thursday 18 February 2010 01:00

A political cartoonist on the Daily Sketch and News Chronicle in the 1950s and the proprietor of the Kingleo Studios cartoon art agency, which he and his wife ran for 30 years, Ian Scott will also be remembered as the founder and first Chairman of the Cartoonists' Club of Great Britain, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in April this year.

He was born Isaac Yaacov Oskotsky in Mother Levy's Home, Stepney, in London's East End on 30 July 1914, the second son of Samuel Oskotsky, a barber, and Annie Isenberg. One of his two younger brothers, Bernard (Ben), became a professional painter and he also had a younger sister. After attending the Raynes Foundation School he studied at St Martin's School of Art (1928–32) and at the Royal College of Art (1932–35) and began contributing cartoons and illustrations to the Daily Express and other publications while still a student.

He began work as an art teacher at Toynbee Hall, Stepney (1935-39), and during the Second World War served in the Royal Engineers with Eighth Army in North Africa and the Middle East. Invalided out of El Alamein with appendicitis, he later joined the Drawing Office of RE Base depot in Ismailia on the Suez Canal in Egypt. Here he edited a wall newspaper, made educational drawings, and wrote and produced shows for the troops.

After the war he returned to London, changed his name (in 1946) to Ian James Scott, and worked in advertising as a graphic artist and designer with his future brother-in-law, Leon Goodman. In 1954 he became Political Cartoonist on the post-Kemsley Daily Sketch, before resigning over the paper's stance on the Suez crisis and joining the News Chronicle (1956–57). He then left to set up a specialist art agency for cartoonists, Kingleo Studios, which he and his wife Tanya ran from their homes in Hampstead and then Bourne End, Buckinghamshire, until 1987. The agency eventually represented more than 100 artists in the UK and overseas, promoting their work not only in the press but also in advertising and on television, and helping many now familiar names to get their first cartoons published.

In April 1960 Scott became the founder and first chairman (1960-69) of the Cartoonists' Club (later renamed the British Cartoonists' Club and finally the Cartoonists' Club of Great Britain), a social club which met on the first Friday in the month in The Feathers pub (since demolished and replaced by The Witness Box) in Tudor Street, London. By 1962 it was based at the Presscala Club in nearby Fleet Street (later moving to The Cartoonist pub in Shoe Lane) and had the Duke of Bedford as its first president, and Billy Butlin, Charles Forte, Sir Edward Hulton and Sir William Carr as vice-presidents.

Also in 1962, Scott set up the Cartoonist of the Year Awards and edited The British Cartoonists' Album, an anthology of nearly 300 cartoons by almost 170 Cartoonists' Club members. A second volume, The British Cartoonists' Year Book. followed in 1964 and he also edited To Russia With Laughter in 1965.

Though many of the leading professional cartoonists left the club to join the newly formed British Cartoonists' Association in 1966, Scott remained as chairman for a further three years before finally standing down in 1969 (remaining as Honorary Life President). During his period in office it is estimated that the Cartoonists' Club raised more than £25,000 for charities such as the Variety Club of Great Britain, Homes for the Aged and the Printer's Pension Corporation.

As a cartoonist Scott was an admirer of David Low, who influenced his brushwork drawing style and use of solid blacks. In addition he was a good caricaturist, which gave added conviction to his political cartoons. He signed his work "IAN SCOTT" in capitals with the third T higher than the fourth and a flourish under the last three letters of his surname.

About 5ft 7in tall, he was clean shaven, had formerly brown hair and was always well dressed. Ever ready to see the funny side of a situation, he was a generous and considerate man and had a genial, welcoming smile. Ian Scott died at Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, Buckinghamshire, after a fall at his home in Eton. He is survived by his younger brother, Morris.

Mark Bryant

Ian James Scott, cartoonist and art agent; born London 30 July 1914; married 1947 Tanya Goodman; died Slough 25 January 2010.

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