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7 September 2020

Norman Pett and Animal Farm

Over here on the National Archives blog a fascinating post has just gone up highlighting the work of artist Norman 'Jane' Pett illustrating a newspaper strip of George Orwell's seminal book, Animal Farm. This was new to me so I wanted to highlight the article and show some of the images...

As the blog post notes...the strip was prepared for use in newspapers as far afield as Caracas and Asmara

As the National Archive blogger notes...

The plan was to tell the story ‘in approximately 78 cartoons, each cartoon containing three or four panels. Thus, if the feature were run by a daily paper, it would take about 13 weeks to tell the whole story’.

One of the files contains some very interesting correspondence which is illuminating about the production process for the strip cartoon. It is correspondence between Mr Lt. Col. Leslie Sheridan of the IRD, Don Freeman, an artist who lived in East Grinstead who provided the ‘roughs’ of the drawings, and the cartoonist Norman Pett who lived in Crawley (who produced the final versions of the cartoons). The correspondence between them is very friendly – both Don and Norman address Leslie Sheridan as ‘Sherry’ (as I shall now refer to him), and they all regularly meet for lunch at the ‘Press Club’ – but sometimes, of course, alterations to the work are called for and Sherry has to deliver constructive criticism (and sometimes apply some pressure regarding deadlines).

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