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 Cyril Kenneth Bird  (1887 - 1965)

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Lived/Active: United Kingdom/England      Known for: painting, illustration, magazine editor

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Right and left arm bowlers coming down the wicket
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Cyril Kenneth Bird, pen name Fougasse (17 December 1887, London - 11 June 1965, London) was a British cartoonist best known for his editorship of Punch magazine and his iconic World War II warning propaganda posters.

The son of Arthur Bird, a company director, he was educated at Cheltenham College and King's College London (B.Sc). While at King's College he attended evening art classes at the Regent Street Polytechnic and at the School of Photo-Engraving in Bolt Court. On 16 Sep 1914 he married Mary Holden Caldwell.

He was seriously injured at the Battle of Gallipoli during World War I and invalided out of the British Army (his pen name is based on the fougasse, a type of mine). He first contributed to Punch in 1916, while convalescing, and also contributed to several other British newspapers and magazines, including the Graphic and Tatler. In the course of the 1920s and 1930s, his drawings evolved from the traditionally representational to an innovative, spare, style that was both unique and popular, featuring in many advertising campaigns as well as in magazine editorial. He became art editor of Punch from 1937 to 1949, then editor until 1953. He was the only cartoonist ever to edit the magazine. During World War II, he worked for free for the Ministry of Information, designing humorous but effective propaganda posters including the famous Careless Talk Costs Lives series. For this work he was awarded the honour of Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1946.

He illustrated and co-wrote several humorous books with W. D. H. McCullough. These included the very successful Aces Made Easyor Pons asinorum in a nutshell, on the subject of contract bridge, in 1934, and You Have Been Warned – A Complete Guide to the Road, in 1935.
Since 2009 his cartoon of a butler carrying a tray has been used to illustrate the front page of British Airways' First Class menus, continuing an association with the airline which goes back to the 1930s when Fougasse penned advertising posters for BA's forerunner, Imperial Airways.


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