Motoring Art Website

The art of uk motoring artists

Brockbank Russell Partridge

Year working: 1913 – 1979

Russell Brockbank is the motoring cartoonist that captured so well the times in which he worked with both general motoring and motor racing. However his skills were far wider than just motoring and from 1949 Russell Brockbank was the Art Editor for Punch magazine producing a wide spectrum of cartoons. Russell Brockbank was born in Canada but his family moved back to the UK in 1929 and he studied Art in London. As a young man he must have been very interested in cars as we start to see drawings from the mid 1930s for magazines such as The Sports Car, Autocar, Speed and later The Motor. He was to have his first drawings accepted by Punch in 1937. The early works are skilful black and white illustrations either with pen and ink or scraperboard, depicting motor racing scenes. Normally his work was signed ‘Brockbank’ occasionally ‘RB’ but some of the early work is just a ‘B’. During the Second World War Russell Brockbank served in the Navy but this did not stop him producing cartoons for various magazines but mainly for The Motor. It was towards the end of the war that he developed his cartoon character Major Upsett, the bowler hated, mustachio, bumbling English gentleman that was to be a permanent part of his Motor cartoons. After the war he was a very popular cartoonist with his work appearing in many publications and also several books of his cartoons were produced. Russell Brockbank rarely used colour to enhance his cartoons, it was the strength of his line work that meant that colour was to some extent superfluous. However it is said that he was not confident using colour but the artwork seen, such as front covers for Punch and calendar artwork, show a very competent use of soft watercolour. We are fortunate that many of the original cartoons have survived from the archives of Punch and The Motor. Also his work was popular at the time so that work colleagues saved any originals that they managed to acquire. This has meant that during the early 2000’s we have seen many cartoons come onto the market where they have been eagerly bought by collectors. The main source of Brockbank cartoons was the sale of The Motor archives in 2001 plus the collection of Geoff Goddard who was a photographer colleague of Brockbank at The Motor. An excellent website about Russell Brockbank and his work has been set up by the family with more details about his life and work plus copies of prints are for sale. The link is given below.

Russell Brockbank at Silverstone

1935 Illustration for Speed

!937 Motor Sport column header

1937 Lagonda illustration

1936 and 1937 Christmas cards for BRDC

Fortune teller seeking the right route

Verteran car learner

Bubble car cartoon

Brockbanks view of the Scottish highlands

Cartoon for Smiths Industries book DASHBOARD REVOLUTION about the instruments of a car Temperature Gauge

Cover design of publicity cartoon brochure for Fiat cars

Cover design of publicity cartoon brochure for Rolls-Royce

Citroen Presse

Bentley and Bond 3 wheeler

Ford adverisement of driver saving his car instead of rescuing his wife.

Impecuncious VW owner filling up