Nicholas Withycombe Garland was the son of Communists, “active, proselytizing Reds. They broke with the party in 1947, but never lost their belief in Socialism.”
So began Garland’s life as an artist and social commentator.
Garland was born in London, grew up in New Zealand, and returned to London to study at the Slade School of Fine Art, from which he graduated in 1957. After a detour working as stage manager and director at the Royal Court Theatre, he began a career as a caricaturist for the Spectator and the Daily Telegraph, where Garland reveled in the radical difference between the paper’s right-wing politics and his own left-wing bohemian background. “The Telegraph has always given a home to eccentrics and odd-balls. I fitted in perfectly well.”
Garland also paints and makes prints. But he is, first and foremost, a caricaturist. As a boy, he loved the caricatures he found in Mad magazine. As a young man in London, he discovered Wally Fawkes’ “Flook” strip in the Daily Mail, matching the humor of Mad magazine “joke for joke and caricature for caricature. I was a fan from the start.” Garland argues that cartoons “are merely telling people what they already know in a highly simplified form.”
Garland was a founder of The Independent, a liberal UK newspaper. He was awarded the OBE in 1998. His archives are held at the University of Kent.