One of the names that kept cropping up as I was looking through Everybody's and John Bull was Zelinski. Not a common name and definitely one worth some investigating, I thought. And here's the results, bolstered by a handy little editorial featurette and photograph I stumbled across in the pages of John Bull.
Harry Zelinski was born Harris S. Zelinski, his birth registered in Rochford, Essex, in 1922. He once crewed a boat that came third in a race at Burnham-on-Crouch but would later claim not to remember what sort of boat it was. He served during the war as a pilot and met his wife, Mary, whilst both were serving in the air force. They had two daughters, Diana and Pauline.
Described as "a ruddy-faced, relaxed man," Zelinski was living in an attractive Georgian house at 5 Priory Crescent, Lewes, in the mid-1950s. He would later move to Hollands, Warren Lane, Friston near East Dean in East Sussex [1959/62] and thence to various addresses in Seaford, East Sussex: 31 Beacon Road , Green Walk [1964/66], 59 Dane Road, [1968/75] and Taras, Marine Parade . He subsequently moved to Corfe Castle, Dorset [1981/84] where, unfortunately, the trail grows cold. Mary Zelinski died in Dorset in 1997 but I've found no further sign of her husband.
Zelinski appears to have been a prolific and popular illustrator with various magazines, where he was noted for his exotic use of flat, rich colours . He claimed to be naturally lazy, "particularly in the autumn" when he would rather while away the hours in a armchair with a pile of records for his gramaphone. While working, he always had music playing in the background—anything from Bach to Eartha Kitt. He was a happy painter, working wherever and whenever he wanted, but had no great sympathy for art for art's sake. "If I really had something vital to say to the world, I should like to be able to say it with music."
Since no great statements were made by Zelinski through music, here's a little gallery of his artwork which I (and I'm sure he would appreciate the gesture) shall leave to speak for itself.
(* Artwork © IPC Media.)