William Scully (1917-2002)
During a career that spanned almost 60 years, William Scully forged a reputation as one of the most prolific and widely published cartoonists of the twentieth century. His loose but carefully considered cartoons were quintessentially British in their humour, but with a style and wit that could stand comparison with the great cartoonists of the New Yorker. His editor at Punch, William Hewison, described his work as ‘Marvellously free and autographic but with a tight control over the use of tone. You are always aware of space in a Scully drawing.’
William Scully was born on 12 June 1917 in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, the son of a builder and amateur artist. After graduating from Nottingham School of Art, he worked as a pipe-tester at an ironworks for four years and then for seven years in an artificial silk factory, before having his first cartoons accepted by the Bystander. During the Second World War, he served in the Army Ordnance Corps, also becoming Art Editor of the army magazine AIM from 1943 to 1945. Between 1945 and 1946, he worked on the staff of the magazine Soldier, set up by James Friell, the political cartoonist of The Daily Worker who worked under the pseudonym ‘Gabriel’.
For almost 60 years, William Scully’s cartoons appeared weekly in publications including Punch, Spectator, Sketch, London Opinion, Men Only, Lilliput and Tatler as well as in the New Yorker. For many years, ‘Scully’s View’ appeared in the Sunday Telegraph. His cartoons were still being published until only weeks before his death in November 2002, at the age of 85.