Friday, 29 February 2008

87: William Hewison

“Theatre People” by William Hewison, in “Punch” 19 July 1967
– “The two young men are male dancers seeking employment”.

“Gilding the Peacock” by William Hewison, in “Punch” 3 June 1970

William Hewison was the illustrator for the theatrical reviews in “Punch” after Ronald Searle left in the early 60s. I think his style is enormously like Searle’s. A number of his illustrations of actors, or else of the actors in the roles they perform, feature a certain amount of certain heavy-eyed, pursed lip, limp-wristed depictions. This could be because the actor is gay (McKellen, Gielguld), or the play feature characters who are either codely or specifically gay (Tennessee Williams, “Staircase”), or it may just be commentary upon a particularly theatrical style of acting. In these two pieces Hewison is able to engage in some actual social reportage. He quite specifically focuses on the fashion aspect in both of these pieces. Here we see the public image that gay men had in the late 60s.

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