British Cartoon Archive


Cyril Jacob was born in Dulwich, London, on 25 February 1926, the second of four sons of William Charles Jacob, assistant publisher of the London evening Star. Disliking his Christian names, Jacob preferred to be called by his family pet-name of "Chic" - a contraction of W.C. Fields's "Chickadee". He attended Crofton Park Central School in Forest Hill and when war broke out in 1939 was evacuated with his two younger brothers to the village of Rotherfield in Sussex. He worked on local farms before serving as a radar rating in the Royal Navy from 1944 to 1947, mostly in SE Asia Command.

On demobilisation Jacob returned to farm work, then in 1949 moved to London, where, after a short time as a clerk for the Gas Board, he worked for thirteen years in the Circulation Department of the Daily Express, drawing cartoons in his spare time. His first cartoon for a national publication appeared in Everybody's in 1950, and after he was taken on by the art agent Ian Scott's Kingleo Studios his work began to appear elsewhere. In 1964 he left the Circulation Department to become the Daily Express staff financial cartoonist, after a chance meeting with Fred Ellis, the paper's Financial Editor, who had seen some of his drawings in Punch. In the same year he was voted Topical Cartoonist of the Year by the Cartoonists' Club of Great Britain.

On the Daily Express Jacob drew a series of pocket cartoons called "Chic-Feed", and also began collaborating with Les Lilley on the strip "Choochie and Twink" - being voted Humorous Strip Cartoonist of the Year by the CCGB in 1966. Jacob and Lilley also worked as freelance television scriptwriters, beginning with BBC TV's Vision On, and collaborated on radio scripts for comedians Dick Emery, Roy Hudd and Arthur Askey. In 1973 Jacob moved to the Observer, where he drew "Pinstripe" and other regular features.

Jacob's work also appeared in Punch, Picturegoer, Star, Daily Sketch, Daily Mirror, Sunday Dispatch, Accountancy Age, Law Society's Gazette, Spectator, New Statesman, Oldie, Insider and Private Eye. He finally left the Observer in 1992, on its merger with the Guardian. Chris Riddell, then the Observer's political cartoonist, recalled that "they were turbulent times and Chic was rather carelessly let go, something he accepted with enormous dignity."

A self-taught cartoonist, Jacob cited his early influences as being Chon Day and the artists of the New Yorker, as well as the British joke cartoonist Eric Burgin. He used a traditional steel-nib pen and indian ink (later felt-tips) with a stylish, flowing line and a subtle use of colour (usually watercolour or gouache), drawing distinctive chunky figures with truncated limbs and pointed fingers. Jacob died at Rainham in Kent on 6 September 2000.

  • Ian J. Scott (ed) British Cartoonists Year Book 1964 (London, 1963), p.34.
  • Denis Gifford "Obituary: Les Lilley", Independent, 4 November 1998, p.6.
  • Mark Bryant "Obituary: Chic Jacob", Independent 15 September 2000, p.6.
  • "Chris Riddell honours the life and work of Chic Jacob", Observer, 17 September 2000, p.30.
  • Mark Bryant Dictionary of Twentieth-Century British Cartoonists and Caricaturists (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2000), pp.124-5.



135 uncatalogued originals [PU0718 - 0852]
20 Hank the Tourist strip


Undated (approx. 60s)

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