Graham Laidler (Pont)

Graham Laidler (Pont)

Graham Laidler, the only son of George Gavin Laidler, owner of a painting and decorating business, and his wife, Kathleen Crosby, was born in Newcastle upon Tyne on 4th July 1908. After the death of his father, the family moved to Jordans, Buckinghamshire. A talented artist, Laidler enrolled at the London School of Architecture in 1926.

According to his biographer, Richard Ingrams: "Laidler became seriously ill shortly after taking his first job in a surveyor's office. A tubercular kidney was diagnosed and he was advised to give up office work and to spend his winters abroad." Laider now decided to concentrate on trying to make it as a cartoonist. In 1930 he was commissioned to produce a weekly strip, The Twiffs, in the Woman's Pictorial. It has been claimed that his style was influenced by the work of George Du Maurier and Frank Reynolds.

Laidler produced cartoons for a variety of different magazines but he was eventually given an exclusive contract by Edmund Valpy Knox, the editor of Punch Magazine. His cartoons were done under the name Pont. A collection of these cartoons were published in the book, A British Character (1938).

Graham Laidler, Life in the BEF (December, 1939)
Graham Laidler, Life in the BEF (December, 1939)

Laidler's cartoons were extremely popular during the Second World War and he published a book of his work, The British Carry On (1940). Richard Ingrams has pointed out: "His drawings were remarkable for their acuteness of observation and their complete lack of sentimentality, qualities which placed them in a different league. He excelled at grumpy antisocial males, harassed mothers, and their stony-faced domestic servants."

Graham Laidler died, unmarried, of poliomyelitis on 23rd November 1940 at the Hillingdon County Hospital, near Uxbridge, Middlesex, at the age of thirty-two.

© , September 1997 - April 2014