Friday, April 8, 2011
How SPY Saw Henry Searle
Let us continue with Henry Searle. On 7 September, 1889, Searle was immortalized by the British caricaturist Leslie Ward (1851-1922; on the right), known as ‘SPY’, in Vanity Fair. Ward drew many of his time’s most famous oarsmen, but a few things differentiate Searle from the others. He was not a British rower, nor had he ever rowed at Oxbridge. Instead, Searle became the only professional oarsman featured in Vanity Fair. Some of the men, who was depicted in Vanity Fair because they had distinguished themselves as ‘good oars’, also had a rowing attribute in the picture, an oar, an Oxbridge jacket or scarf, or, in the case of Raymond ‘Ethel’ Etherington-Smith, a Leander sweatshirt and Leander-coloured socks, or actually sat in a boat pulling an oar (Stanley ‘Muttle’ Muttlebury). The only thing that the well-dressed Henry Searle is holding in his hand is a walking-stick. Three months later, on 10 December, 1889, poor Searle died after he contracted typhoid fever. He was 23-years old.