Barry Ernest Fantoni (born 1940) As an artist, caricaturist and cartoonist, Barry Fantoni’s influence on the artistic landscape of the 1960s prompted the Daily Mirror to write of him in 1967: ‘Barry doesn’t so much know what is in – he decides it.’ The son of an Italian-born professional painter, Barry Fantoni was born in London on 28 February 1940. Educated at Archbishop Temple’s School, he enrolled at Camberwell School of Arts & Crafts in 1954, a month shy of his fifteenth birthday. Despite his expulsion from Camberwell in 1958, he was able to enrol at the prestigious Slade School of Fine Art, where he helped to develop the Pop Art movement alongside such contemporaries as David Hockney and Peter Blake. In 1962, Fantoni wrote scripts for the BBC programme, That Was The Week That Was, and in 1966, presented A Whole Scene Going On, a BBC series that drew 16 million viewers and saw him voted TV Personality of the Year. In 1963, he had his first cartoon published in Private Eye.
He would later join the magazine’s editorial staff and, before his retirement in 2010, had featured in all but 31 of its 1,278 issues. In addition to his cartoons, he was also known as the writer of the regular ‘EJ Thribb’ column and as co-creator of Private Eye’s royal correspondent, Sylvie Krin. He has also drawn for The Listener and Radio Times. He was editor of St Martin’s Review from 1969 to 1974, art critic for The Times between 1973 and 1977 and diary cartoonist for the same newspaper from 1983 to 1991. Also known as a novelist and playwright, he had his first play, Modigliani, My Love open in Paris in 1999. In 2013, his play Picasso is Coming … Ce Soir opened in London. His detective novel Harry Lipkin, Private Eye, was published in 2012. Since retirement from Private Eye, Barry has lived in Calais, France. In between periods of writing, he is currently 'making buses and cars out of old shoe boxes and making toy dolls do shocking things to each other – at least shocking to the dolls'.