George Worsley Adamson

Illustrator and humorist


Book Illustration


Children’s Books

Copyright: the Battle



The George Adamson Archive


Illustration for Periodicals

Official War Artist

Publicity and Stationery

Reproduction Rights

Unpublished Work

Work in Public Collections


Special Area

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Unpublished Work
As this web site demonstrates much of Adamson’s work has been published. Many illustrations were commissioned for publication and many cartoons, which had been done speculatively, made their way into print in a whole range of magazines and newspapers. For the most part he earned his living through his work being published rather than through the sale of original works of art to galleries or private collectors.

To some extent Adamson has been able to break down that old divide between so-called commercial art and fine art through the masterliness of his line and the painterliness of his colourwork. Indeed some of his pictures, although done for commercial purposes, are works of art in themselves and have been perceived as such by collectors. In their own way some of his drawings for, say, the Nursing Times are as moving and evocative as some of Goya’s engravings; and some of his Punch covers could be said to be modern masters in the figurative tradition.

His draughtsmanship, exploited purely for its own sake, is much in evidence in his etchings and engravings. Here he emerges as an important exponent of one branch of fine art.

In time it is hoped that a selection of early works in various media will be shown on this site to give an idea of how his style developed. In addition there will be examples of his momentary departures into the realms of decorative art: items of furniture (among them a foldaway Punch and Judy booth) and carpets made to his design. Also, a number of enticing pictures will give glimpses of book projects that sit astride that divide between the two art worlds. These are projects, mostly in a completed state, that await publication in a fitting manner. Among them are:

  • Humorous drawings of Florence and Venice forming a sequel to his book Rome Done Lightly
  • Other People: a series of satirical drawings of modern mores inspired by Sartre’s line in Huis-Clos [In Camera] (1944): ‘L’enfer, c’est les autres’ [hell is other people].
  • There and Back: a series of remarkable paintings that read either way up and are aimed to intrigue and amaze young children
  • The Three Dealers: a fantastical romp through great works of art by three eccentric auctioneers


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