Russell Brockbank…

Posted: November 5, 2017 in Obscurities, Who,What,Where & When...?
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I joined a couple of much younger enthusiasts at Prahran’s ‘The Alps’ for a couple of ‘shandies’ on a warm Spring Sunday last week and was amazed to see them on their ‘duelling’ iPads cackling away to some of Brockbank’s magic…

 I shouldn’t have been surprised though as the work is timeless.

Russell Brockbank died in 1979 so has not been with us for a while. I think the first time I saw his work was in a batch of Pommie magazines my dad had been given by a mate in my early teens. A while ago.

He wasn’t born a Brit though, he was Canadian by birth, born in Niagra Falls in 1913, he was educated there and then went to Chelsea School of Art in London. He left art for industry in 1932 and then industry for art in 1936.

The 1960’s English editor of Automobile Year recalls he was a fairly well known motoring artist when Brockbank asked for his advice on how to break into the automotive business over a post Donington meeting drink. Confronted by such brilliant competition, Gordon Wilkins thought he showed sound sense in deserting art for writing.

Brockbank’s career started in the thirties as a contributor to ‘Speed’ magazine producing scraper images of the racing cars of the time.

Throughout his war service in the Royal Navy he contributed to Punch, Lilliput and The Aeroplane, his art reflecting the state of society then.

By 1949 he was the Art Editor of Punch. His passion and knowledge of cars and motor racing shines through in the technical accuracy of his work as do his characters-Major Upsett with his outmoded ‘tache and clapped out Austin 8. Not to forget the ‘Old Biddy’ haranguing her long-suffering husband, the Rolls driver and Latin racing drivers. Nothing missed his eagle eye.

In England he lived in the country and frequently gave lifts to grannies who had missed the hourly bus. He even thought of starting a ‘100 mph Club’ – ‘Bless their hearts, they chat away at a Porsche ton and don’t know it. The observant few watch the tacho, read 40 and are happy’ he quipped.

He died at the early age of 66.

 

 

 

 

Bibliography…

Automobile Year, Article by Sue Ellis

Credit…

Russell Brockbank, Brockbank Partnership

Tailpiece…

 

 

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