Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Fougasse - Cyril Kenneth Bird (1887 - 1965) - British cartoonist, artist and illustrator

I first found out about Fougasse while reading “Dear Turley” – a tribute to Charles Turley Smith the writer who died in 1940.  Fougasse had illustrated one of Turley’s books and wrote a piece for the tribute - "Dear Turley" edited by Eleanor Adlard and published by Frederick Muller Ltd., London, 1942.
Cyril Kenneth Bird was born in London on 17th December 1887.  His father was company director Arthur Bird, b. 1847 and his mother was Mary Bird, b.1852, nee Wheen.   Cyril had a sister, Mary, born in 1885   He was educated at Cheltenham College and King’s College London, where he studied art at evening classes at the Regent Street Polytechnic College.

Cyril married Mary Holden Caldwell (b. 24th June 1889) on 16th September 1914 in Paddington, London.

During the First World War, Cyril joined the Royal Engineers and was badly wounded during the Gallipoli Campaign.  He took the name ‘Fougasse’ for his illustrations, as the name ‘Bird’ was already in use by an artist.  The term “fougasse” referred to a French WW1 mortar.  If you google the word these days, you will find recipes for a focaccia type bread...

While convalescing in Britain, Cyril began contributing cartoons to “Punch” “Graphic” and “Tatler” magazines and after the war he designed advertising posters as well as illustrating books.

During the Second World War, Cyril worked for the Ministry of Information and produced propaganda posters, among them the famous "careless talk costs lives" poster.

Cyril died on 11th June 1965.


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