FOUGASSE, (Cyril Kenneth Bird) (1887 – 1965)

Fougasse: “Strictly between you and me…”. c.1940


Cartoonist, illustrator and designer, Bird studied engineering at King’s College, London, but also attended classes at Regent Street Polytechnic School of Art and Bolt Court, Fleet Street. WW1 injuries prevented his practising as an engineer, so he took a course with Percy V Bradshaw’s Press Art School, and his work soon appeared in Punch. He became art editor of the magazine in 1937, then was editor for four years from 1949. Bird’s sparse, graphic style became famous during WW2 when he designed posters for the government, notably ‘Careless Talk Costs Lives’. He also exhibited extensively at the Fine Art Society and at the RSA. He illustrated a number of books, including ‘A Gallery of Games’, 1921, and ‘The Changing Face of Britain’, 1940. He was master of the Art Workers’ Guild for a time and on the council of both the Imperial Arts League and the SGA. He was married to the artist Mary Holden Bird and lived in Sussex.