Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Arthur Ferrier's "Film Fannie"

Film Fannie was one of the first "pin-up" strips to appear in the UK, drawn by Arthur Ferrier for Everybody's magazine in the 1930s and followed quickly by another Ferrier creation, "Our Dumb Blonde" for the Sunday Pictorial in 1939.

Ferrier was a Glaswegian, born in 1890, who began drawing cartoons for the Glasgow Daily Record whilst working as an analytical chemist; when the paper's editor, William McWhirter, moved to London, Ferrier followed, continuing to sell cartoons in his spare time.

Ferrier's later strips included "Spotlight on Sally" for the News of the World and "Eve" for the Daily Sketch. After many years of drawing pin-ups, advertising and a great many cartoons, Ferrier died in 1973.

The examples of Ferrier's "Film Fannie" shown here are all from 1939.

Ferrier also penned numerous short sketches for Everybody's which he illustrated; the feature later developed into the weekly "Ferrier's Searchlight".

(Everybody's © IPC Media.)


  1. Steve, if your dates are correct Ferrier lived to the amazing age of 112!Charles Worrell who was the original Big Chief I-Spy in the Daily Mail lived to 106 but........
    On other posts, the loss of Tony Hart is extremely sad;he appeared to be a genuinely pleasant and unassuming man who deserved the sort of honours that talentless 'celebrities' and members of the establishment get ladled out to them all too frequently.
    Finally, fantastic news that the final 2 Trigan Empire volumes are being despatched this week. With only 500 in Dutch & another 500 in English they should prove to be collectors' items although due to the credit crunch there will probably be some unsold for quite a while. The last one is costing far more due to the weak £ even though the price in Euros has remained constant.

  2. Oops. Good catch. The date should be 1891, not 1861. I'll fix it.

  3. I believe that Arthur John Ferrier who died in 1973 was according to the general records office entry born on 15/11/1890. In 1919 at his marriage he described himself as an Artists black on white. The same as his wife.

  4. Martin,

    Thanks for the further correction. I quickly checked the date in the Dictionary of British Cartoonists which states 1891. I'll correct the information (again!).

    It's a good thing you lot are out there to catch my mistakes. Keep doing it -- BA is often written in the wee hours of the morning and, however hard I try, errors do creep in.

  5. I was in such a hurry to correct the date that I almost missed another little gem:

    Martin, do you know the name of Ferrier's wife and anything about her artistic career?

  6. From their marriage certificate it says 18/3/1919 Arthur John Ferrier age 28 Bachelor Artist Black on White, 15 Bernard Street, W.C. Father John Ferrier, Organist. Wife Annie Evelyn McGregor Brown age 27 Spinster Artist Black on White, same address. Father Alexander Brown, independent means. Signed by Arthur Ferrier and 'Evelyn' Brown in the presence of Florence James and Donald Howat. Presbyterian Church, Regent Square, St.Pancras, in the county of London.

    She was born 19/1/1891 in Bow London and died in Wandsworth in 1974.

    I don't know anything about her other than that. My father also a Ferrier remembers his "saucy" cartoons and postcards. I never came across any artwork by an Annie Ferrier or an Evelyn Ferrier.

    Martin Ferrier (no relation that I am aware of)

  7. Martin,

    Cheers for that. Lots of very useful information. I'll have a dig around and report back if I find anything on Mrs. Ferrier's work.

  8. I had never heard of Arthur Ferrier until last month when I visited a retired English friend in Florida. Hanging on her walll was a pastel crayon "pin-up" drawing, and when I asked her about it, she explained that she was the original model for Dizzy in the "Spotlight on Sally" comic strip in the News of the World from 1947-1949. After a year, the girl who modelled as Sally took another job, so my friend Rita had to sit for both characters. Arthur Ferrier gave her the crayon drawing as a wedding present when she married in the 50s. It pictures Dizzy (the brunette) on the telephone in her boudoir, and the caption on the back reads, "I'm returning your Christmas present of perfume, Colonel, but I'd like to keep the diamond bracelet for sentimental reasons." This is SUCH a brilliant discovery for me, and to find that my old friend had such an interesting life as a young lady!

  9. How interesting. It would be wonderful to learn more from your friend about her time posing for Ferrier who, well known at the time, nowadays seems to be almost forgotten.

    Would the "other girl" be Eileen Bennett? I ask because she featured in a Pathe News reel which I've posted here.

  10. Hi Steve
    Interesting Ferrier post. The Cartoon Museum have a few odds and ends, including a photo of him in later years that I can send you my scan of if you're interested. Ferrier is definitely one of my favourites... but that's no surprise, as he draws women so well (and, unusually, his men aren't all fat Colonel Blink- style claret-nosed lecherous bosses, which unfortunately seemed to be the male stereotype for many of the cartoonists of the day).

  11. I knew Arthur much later in his life, for about five years before his death, visited him frequently in Chelsea. I liked him very much, was delighted to be his friend - I was then a young student, and he was excellent generous-spirited company.
    His wife Molly was also Scottish. And I understood they married in 1918. Maybe 'Molly' was a nickname, and perhaps she had been born in Bow and moved to Scotland when young, but on the whole I am inclined to think this is not their marriage.
    An oddity is that Arthur - to the world at large - had another, different 'wife', a much younger woman called Freda who had lived with the couple since about 1938 (Freda did not in fact know that Molly was his wife until after he died - she believed Molly was the widow of Arthur's brother, but that brother was in fact still alive!)... it was all very tangled indeed.

    Arthur almost always drew from life - even for the most basic cartoon, he reckoned that he could only draw what he could see. I remember that even when he was bed-ridden at the last, he was visited by women who had modelled for him as far back as he 1920s.

    If anyone would like to ask me about him and his work, I may be able to fill in some gaps.

    Richard Byrne

    1. Hi Richard! Fascinated to hear about Molly and Freda. Freda Ethel Fairchild is my great aunt on my mother side. I only met her twice, the last time was in London in 1983( I live in Canada).She lived in a flat near Harrod’s. She passed in 2001.
      The story you tell above is very similar to the story we know of Freda and Arthur. Apparently Freda was quite mortified when she found out Molly was indeed Arthur’s wife. Curious to know if Molly and Evelyn brown are the same person? We never heard of Evelyn, only Molly. And the fact that she thought Molly was the brother’s widow...new to us! The story continues with Freda nursing Arthur through cancer at the end. We have no confirmation of that. Any other tidbits you may have will help as I continue on our family tree.!

    2. Hi Richard
      Picking up this thread after a few years here! I'm currently researching Arthur Ferrier, and would welcome your input. Could I ask you a few questions? Feel free to email me at rian at rianhughes dot com. Hope you see this, and many thanks in advance.

  12. Hi Richard,

    Thanks for taking the time to write. One thing I'd love to know... although we know Ferrier from his work in the 1930s through to the 1950s, I wonder what he was drawing after he finished with Eve in 1956. Perhaps he retired from professional cartooning. I know he lived in Malta for a time, but I'm not sure when.

  13. Hi Richard,
    I'm fortunate to own Arthur Ferrier's painting that features in the British Pathe Newsreel 1944 and curious to find out the name of the mystery model. I wonder whether you may be able to help?
    I've carried out a little 'Google' research and have uncovered a sketch that I believe to be of the same lady. It is signed "To Janet, Tom Ferrier, alias Arthur Webster".
    I bought the painting at auction in Greenwich, London.
    Kind regards,



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