The Donald McGill Museum opened in 2010 in Ryde, Isle of Wight, U.K. where McGill lived. Donald was a prolific artist that produced more than 12,000 postcard designs, many of which were comedic (“saucy seaside postcards”). In 1941 George Orwell wrote a scathing critical essay titled “The Art of Donald McGill” for Horizon magazine discussing McGill’s humor on the postcards as a “harmless rebellion against virtue” leading a “barely legal existence in cheap stationers’ windows”. McGill did get censored, prosecuted and fined in 1952. In fact in 1954 there were police raids in Ryde, in which an estimated 5,000 postcards were destroyed. McGill’s career started at age 29 (in 1904), when a relative discovered he had talent after he drew a Get Well card for his nephew in the hospital. He continued to illustrate postcards up until the time of his death on Oct. 13, 1962 (although he had already finished the artwork for his 1963 postcards).
This week I am honoring an artist who had a bad sense of humor and a love of postcards… a kindred spirit you might say.
And here is his parody of his own predicament: