Posy Simmonds is a writer as well as an illustrator, and brilliant at both. Posy is popular across the board: for her witty cartoons about the politically correct Webber family in The Guardian; her children’s books featuring such characters as Fred, the Elvis impersonator cat and her graphic novels, Gemma Bovery, Posy’s take on Flaubert’s classic novel and Tamara Drewe based on Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd, which was a 2010 movie hit starring Gemma Arterton.
The exhibition includes work ranging from Posy’s schoolgirl cartoon portfolio, including a design for her own magazine Gurls. Mischievous to the point of wicked in her drawings, teenage Posy was often in trouble at school for such artistic ventures as a page of drawings headed How To Make Love.
The exhibition also features original drawings created for The Guardian. One strip follows the adventures of the Silent Three of St Botolph’s School for Girls – Trish, Jo and Wendy – who continue the secret society they set up at school into married life. The story of the exploding Sandringham Tartlets is just one of the mysteries they set out to solve. A 1989 cartoon entitled The Common Market follows in the path of two women who cast scorn on their local market in loud patronising voices, ‘Honestly, shopping in England’s just a soul-destroying chore… whereas, in France, I LOVE it!’
POSY SIMMONDS: Original Artwork and Unseen Sketches is at the Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate, from 16 June to 9 September 2018. Over 50 works will be on show, including drawings, sketch books, finished illustrations, Posy’s juvenilia as well as loans from the Guardian Media Archive.