Ronald Searle, CBE, RDI (1920 – 2011, British)

Ronald Searle cat loverRonald Searle, CBE, RDI (1920 – 2011, British) was a satirical cartoonist who is known for his amusing cartoons of cats. Born in Cambridge, his father was a postal worker. Searle started drawing at the age of 5 and attended Cambridge College of Arts and Technology.

At the beginning of WWII, Searle enlisted in the Royal Engineers and was stationed in Singapore. While fighting in Malaysia, he was taken as a prisoner of war by the Japanese. He spent the entire war as a prisoner enduring beatings, starvation, beriberi, and malaria. He was freed in 1945 after the surrender of the Japanese. Searle documented his incarceration with a series of 300 drawings that he hid under the mattresses of those dying. Most of these drawings are included in his book, Ronald Searle: To the Kwai and Back, War Drawings 1939-1945. The Imperial War Museum in London holds most of these drawings today. After his release, Searle then served as a courtroom artist at the German Nuremberg trials.

Searle was a prolific artist especially during the 1950’s, working on books and publishing in magazines. In 1961, Searle moved to Paris where he married and divorced and then married again and finally ended up living in the mountains of Haute Provence. He worked on both Life and Holiday magazines during this time.  Searle did numerous covers for The New Yorker which feature cats, and he published many books including Ronald Searle’s Big Fat Cat Book and Ronald Searle’s Cats.

Searle influenced many American cartoonists such as Hilary Knight, Pat Oliphant, and Matt Groening, who frequently uses cats in his works and is a cat lover himself.  Throughout Searle’s life, he received numerous awards, including the 1959 and 1965 National Cartoonists Society’s Advertising and Illustration Award, and the appointment of Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2004.

His wife Monica died in July 2011, and Searle died on 30 December 2011, aged 91. Today, many of Searle’s works can be found in the collection of the Wilhelm Busch Museum in Hanover, Germany.


Black Cat, Ronald Searle

Black Cat



Blond Cat, Ronald Searle

Blond Cat



Cat Bathing, Ronald Searle

Cat Bathing



Cat in a Cone, Ronald Searle

Cat in a Cone



Cat on a Pillar, Ronald Searle

Cat on a Pillar



Cat on Top of the World, Ronald Searle

Cat on Top of the World



Cat with Snail Shell, Ronald Searle

Cat with Snail Shell



Catahari, Ronald Searle




Cats and Moon, Ronald Searle

Cats and Moon



Cats Regretting Puberty, Ronald Searle

Cats Regretting Puberty



Cats Relaxing, Ronald Searle

Cats Relaxing



Cats, 1967, Ronald Searle

Cats, 1967



Dancing Cat, Ronald Searle

Dancing Cat



Family Portrait, Ronald Searle

Family Portrait



Frightened Cat, Ronald Searle

Frightened Cat



Happy Cat, Ronald Searle

Happy Cat


Illiterate Cat, Ronald Searle

Illiterate Cat


Lounging Cat, Ronald Searle

Lounging Cat



Puffy Cat, Ronald Searle

Puffy Cat



Retarded Cat, Ronald Searle

Retarded Cat



Ronald Searle Cat of a Thousand Disguises concealing itself as a Rug

Cat of a Thousand Disguises concealing itself as a Rug



Ronald Searle's Cats, 1967

Ronald Searle’s Cats, 1967



White Puffy Cat, Ronald Searle

White Puffy Cat



The Cat's Bed, Ronald Searle

The Cat’s Bed



The Coming of the Great Cat God, 1968, Ronald Searle

The Coming of the Great Cat God, 1968



Timid Cat, Ronald Searle

Timid Cat



Two Cats Quite Calmly Making Beasts of Themselves, Ronald Searle

Two Cats Quite Calmly Making Beasts of Themselves



Two Cats Quite Calmly Making Beasts of Themselves, Ronald Searle

Two Cats Quite Calmly Making Beasts of Themselves



New Yorker Cover Jan 1979, Ronald Searle



New Yorker Cover July 1992, Ronald Searle



New Yorker Cover May 1969, Ronald Searle





New Yorker Cover, 1988, Ronald Searle



New Yorker Cover, Feb 1973, Ronald Searle



New Yorker Cover, Feb 1991, Ronald Searle



New Yorker Cover, May 1972, Ronald Searle



Want to know more about the cat in art, history and literature? Then Revered and Reviled is the book for you. Now available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. 


Revered and Reviled: A Complete History of the Domestic Cat, cat history, cats



Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2019 Laura Vocelle


  1. I actually remember his artwork! I LOVED how he depicted cats! Also, Oliphant believe was an Editorial Cartoonist like my father was (I think my father knew him……unless there was another Oliphant. My Dad was Ray Osrin)

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