Gallery: Cartoons : Marf |
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Cartoons : Marf

Marf, alias Martha Richler, has built herself an unassailable position as the political cartoonist of the Evening Standard but it isn’t enough for her. She is one of those artists who are fascinated by the history of their own art, and in September 2008 she began a website that would place her work in the context of the whole genre to which it contributes. Developments come so fast in the web that a retrospective view is obliged to count every year as a decade. It can be said, then, that towards the end of the era known as the first ten years of the new century, Martha Richler took the personal website to a new stage. The website which attempts to project a personal taste through a wide scope was not unknown. (The present writer, at this point, steps forward shyly and takes a shallow bow.) But Martha Richler saw the possibilities of advancing it into an area as yet unexplored because it seemed so close to hand. One of the fruitful strengths of her approach is the way she combines criticism and historical appreciation with her own creativity. Her tribute to Osbert Lancaster is a case in point. It could be said that all her graphic work is a tribute to him — she acknowledges him as a founder of her approach to the daily cartoon — but her remarks about his total achievement are a further example of reverence, and an even more useful one. Few students will be able to copy the way she draws, but anybody can follow her in her appreciation of what her ancestors did. I speak as one who was bowled over by Osbert Lancaster: his satirical guidebook Drayneflete Revealed was one of the books that gave me England before I left Australia. But I think that the grand old man would have enjoyed Martha Richler’s praise more than mine. She is good at praise, and precisely because her standards are high; she will follow the virtues wherever they go. Already a wonder in its formative stage, hers is a website of unique promise, and I am very glad to have her permission to introduce it here.

Martha’s website is here: Martha Richler [ Marf’s (truly) original site, London Sketchbook, is alas no more — Archive Ed. ]