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Glegg Donal Lindsay

Year working: 1911 - 1994

Donal Glegg and his twin brother Gordon were born in 1911 and brought up in South-East London. He came from a line of Engineers and his Engineer father A Lindsay Glegg was a talented amateur artist and cartoonist. Donal studied at the Royal College of Art, and became a painter of mountains and landscapes, exhibiting at the Alpine Club in London and in galleries in New York. Some of his work was used for posters, for example by British Rail. He also worked for motoring magazines producing sketches, caricatures and cartoons. With his brother, he designed and raced the Dorcas special, which was constructed at the family home on Kingston Hill. In its initial form it was Austin based with BSA front-wheel drive, powered by a JAP engine without any bodywork. In its later forms it developed into 4-wheel drive with an attractive sleek bodywork and high tail similar to a Twin-Cam Austin. Gordon was the principal driver. Many of Donal’s cartoons seem to caricature the various versions of Dorcas. Glegg’s artwork first appears in Motor Sport 1932 – 1935 with illustrations of record cars and caricatures. He went on to work for The Autocar 1939 – 1947. It is fortunate that a lot of his Autocar work survives and it was sold in the auction of the archives of The Motor/Autocar in 2001. The artwork was principally cartoons but also included a superb series of the Cockney alphabet. There is a sketch in Bugantics Bulletin (Sept 1937? year) and text about him having recently joined the Bugatti Owners Club; also having designed a Bloodhound mascot. The later version of Dorcas did have a silver dog mascot but this was in fact based on his Cairn terrier, ‘Hoots’! Donal had been diagnosed with Diabetes at the age of 12, when war came he was unfit for active service. He married in 1939; his wife Mabel was trained as a Doctor. During the War he worked for the War Office lecturing on camouflage and concealment. This work probably gave him the time to submit art to the Autocar. After the war in 1946 they wrote and illustrated a book ‘Ptarmigan Pie’ about the couple’s search for a croft on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. In 1949 he was on a painting trip in the Canadian Rockies when his sight began to fail - he never painted again as his vision deteriorated steadily until he became completely blind. After a few years farming and breeding dogs in Sussex, the family moved in 1955 to Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and for ten years ran a hostel for the children of missionaries. They remained in Rhodesia until 1979 when they moved to Canada joining their son, where they spent the rest of their lives. Donal died in 1994 and his wife Mabel in 1995. In The Automobile magazine in Jan/Feb/March 2013 there was an excellent three-part article about Glegg brothers and the various forms of their racing car creations by Graham Skillen entitled ‘The Life and Times of Dorcas’. These articles contain many further examples of Donal Glegg’s artwork

Further reference

For further details about Donal Glegg and background information about the book Ptarmigan Pie see this article written by his son Alastair. The Automobile magazine January/February/March 2013 ‘The Life and Times of Dorcas’ by Graham Skillen.


Donal Glegg with Dorcas I in its early form at the Brighton Speed Trials circa 1931

Sketches of Dorcas II on Royal College of Art notepaper

Three of a series of 26 cartoons of the letters of the alphabet, published in The Autocar 1941

On the ferry to Skye

SWEEPING ATTACK cartoon for The Autocar 25th July 1941

CAMERA SHY cartoon for The Autocar 19th September 1941

Going backwards on the brooklands banking.

Take off on the Brooklands Test Hill

The hard landing on the Brooklands Test Hill