BY JAMIE FOSTER
In 1952, Norman Thelwell (1923-2004) penned his first cartoon for the satirical British magazine Punch, renowned internationally for its wit, irreverence, and for publishing the world’s best comic writers and poets. This led to a relationship that lasted for 25 years and over 1,000 cartoons, including 60 front covers.
Thelwell was a master of sharp social comment and sheer zany humour, and his 34 books have sold millions of copies worldwide and have been translated into numerous languages (thelwell.org.uk). Now Quiller Publishing have republished The Effluent Society – featuring Thelwell’s rural cartoons.
Thelwell is perhaps best known for his cartoons depicting plump, petulant ponies and their young riders, but The Effluent Society shows another aspect of his work and character. Thelwell was passionate about the countryside and nature. During his life he became increasingly concerned about the impact of development, pollution and society’s treatment of the environment. When The Effluent Society was first published in 1971, his concerns were way ahead of their time. Today, environmental and conservation issues are in the mainstream and have become a global priority.
Although the cartoons focus on a serious topic there is no mistaking Thelwell’s inimitable style. He used his talent and humour to convey a powerful message: the need to protect the environment. He also takes a wry look at modern life and so-called progress. Thelwell admitted that out of all his books, The Effluent Society was the one that gave him the greatest ‘personal satisfaction’ and, as such, the re-issue of this title is a fitting tribute to the artist.
The Effluent Society will ameliorate anyone’s water closet bookshelf and makes for a delightful, black and white watch and read.
The Effluent Society is available here.