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MacDonald McGrill: A Crafty Burger

The latest catalogue from Fine Auctioneers and Valuers Sotherbones contains amongst several unique lots a collection of Boneforth "Saucy Seaside Postcards" from the early to late 1960s once in the collection of Alf and Elsie Skivvy formerly of Sydling St Nicholas. Mr and Mrs Skivvy were long-time housekeeper and odd jobber respectively to Mr and Mrs Threadbone when both couples were resident in the delightful environs of the much-sought-after residential haven. [Mr and Mrs Threadbone lived in the handsome property known as Hardend House until 1998 when a domestic incident surrounding newly-arrived nut tightener and ex-Spanish Boy Scout Enrique persuaded the three that it was better to move into the relative anonymity of The Crowne Magna Hotel and Spa, Owermoigne pending an operational understanding. They later moved to Threadbone Towers the former home of the 3rd Duke of Portesham and scene of Mr Threadbones fatal encounter with an out-of-control mini-tractor.]*

* For further details on the Threadbone's delightful homes, together with a marvellous conspectus of other famous celebrity domiciles why not download a digital copy of Allen Iain's Iconic Dorset Homes - available from the orinoco store as well as from our own exclusive digi-portal [HERE].

The Skivvys, meanwhile, continued to reside in Sydling St Nicholas wherein the kept their treasured collection of postcards purchased on their - alas - infrequent opportunities to visit the Dorset coast. Mr Skivvy died in 2017, his widow Elsie earlier this year. Daughter Adeline is now selling their collection along with other household goods and items retrieved from the loft [including several Threadbone China hand-crafted, hand-finished ceramic mini-statuettes of famous local celebrities].

Though Sotherbones expect some items to be available quite cheaply, one or two are, they say, likely to carry a premium because of their unique historical value. Chief amongst these may be a MacDonald McGrill postcard sent by Elsie to Mrs Threadbone in July 1964 on a rare visit to Branscombe Beach. The item was either later returned to the Skivvys by Mrs Threadbone or, more likely, never posted. The stamp is notably unfranked.

Though the card itself [Boneforth Postcards Comic Series No 3014] is not especially collectable - Mr McGrill was a prolific purveyor of the illustrated double entendre and his work was mass-produced for cheap distribution - the text in which Mrs Skivvy draws hitherto unremarked attention to the striking similarity between the featured male and Mrs Threadbone's distant relative Professor Thrupiece is, experts say, almost certain to up its value very considerably. [Mrs Skivvy's lack of tact in making the connection may add to the plausibility of the "return to sender" explanation for the card remaining in her possession. Equally, it might explain a late change of heart or failure of nerve.]

In any event, Sotherbone deltiologist and head of paper-based auctions Ivor Ream believes Mr McGrill's stock is steadily rising. "Of course the intelligent collector still prefers the work of bona fide artists and McGrill was merely an illustrator", he says, "but his stock is steadily rising, largely on the back of the anti-political-correctness movement. His work remains a celebration of the silly, the funny, the rude, the risqué, the irreverent and the naive escapism necessary to the psychic rebalancing the post-war period demanded. Vicars, drunks, nudists, tight Scotsmen, hapless dentists priapic bachelors and busty young women were his stock in trade and all-in-all, as he himself said, he was a 'crafty burger'. The card in question contains several of the trademark gestures of his best work, so its value might surprise us all".

See similar items in other LOTS HERE


AFTER NOTE: It did. The Guide Price was £400. It sold for £3.50

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