John Ryan was born in 1921, and, from the 1950's has been associated with the creation of the puffed up but useless pirate, Captain Pugwash of the Black Pig ship , kept in line by his cabin boy, Tom. Teaching in Brighton from 1989 I was aware this great book artist live nearby and that in the sphere of pictures telling stories, he knew few equals. I remember being given a copy of Captain Pugwash in 1952 when the character first set sail. The map above top left, left a strong impression on me, and in particular that serpents on maps were actual and had to be avoided. He was skilled at orchestrating narrative action across a double page (top right). In 1976 Ryan created a satisfying harbour scene at night in Pugwash the Smuggler with allthe gravitas and artifical light of a theatrical set - almost a Claudian sense of space and light. Above all I loved his ships at sea (about as close as I wanted to get - bottom right).

Much of the artwork can be found in the Centre for the Study of Cartoons at the University of Kent.


Page size 20 x 29 cms.