A young family and some ‘eyeball pleasers’

5 Mar

Extract from Chapter 3: Pencil Squeezer

Ian and Betty had little money of their own when William Dury died, but with the £2,000 that he left them, they decided to start a family of their own. Ten months later, on January 4, 1969, Ian’s daughter Jemima was born.

Fatherhood didn’t impinge on Ian’s socialising. He continued to go out with his male friends and his casual attitude which friends saw him adopting to his domsestic responsibilities was to set the tone of his marriage to Betty.

Russell Hardy observes: “When Jemima was born, things carried on as normal, we would still go out on the piss. Ian never actually let anything like that get in the way of what he wanted to do, if he had a bee in his bonnet about the direction he was going in. He liked all the nice things: he had a wife and a baby, but it never actually became his life. Most people settle down, but for Ian that was just one side of it and the direction he wanted to go in was a completely different thing. He would never let his marriage or anything like that interfere with what he was doing. Betty put up with an awful lot.

“I would go into the house, quite often with Terry Holman and Ian, and Betty would be there and Jemima would be going to bed or had just woken up as we came in at some ungodly hour of the night. She would suddenly pop up out of her cot with this fantastic beam on her face. She was only a little toddler in a jump suit – she was great.”

Peter Blake, whose wife gave birth to a daughter named Liberty just six weeks before the birth of Jemima, was working as an illustrator and had painted the famous cover for The Beatles’ 1967 album Sergeant Pepper’s lonely Hearts Club Band . In Ian’s third year at the RCA, Peter had helped him pick up work as an illustrator with London Life magazine. The Sunday Times magazine had also published pencil drawings of Ian’s, usually of celebrities such as Tony Bennett and Ella Fitzgerald, and Geoff Rigden occasionally accompanied him to newspaper offices to deliver his work. 

One magazine feature about movie icons, entitled ‘The Immortals’ , displayed 40 sketches by Ian (they misspelled his name ‘Drury’). Among those he drew were Omar Sharif, Al Jolson, Rudolph Valentino, Errol Flynn and Buster Keaton. For a magazine article marking the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, Ian did drawings of its famous adversaries, Harold and William, against brightly coloured backgrounds.  But Ian “didn’t want to make a living doing that” and let it lapse.

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