British Cartoon Archive


Basil Hone was born on 4 October 1926. The son of a school attendance officer, he was educated at the Sir Walter St John School, Battersea, and Godalming, to which he had been evacuated. When he was seventeen he joined the Bank of England as an uncovenanted clerk, but was then called up into the Royal Corps of Signals, serving with them in India and Palestine. After three years' service he returned to the Bank, and worked in different departments on the domestic banking side. He then spent two years in the Liverpool branch, and eventually became editor of the Bank's internal news summary, compiling a survey of economic and international stories every morning.

Hone also became resident cartoonist for the Bank's quarterly magazine The Old Lady - to which he also contributed film reviews - and for the Bank Fortnightly. From this start he began contributing cartoons to a large variety of publications, including The Banker, Seatrade, Punch, Spectator, Financial Weekly and the Sunday Telegraph's City pages. At first he signed himself "Basil Hone", or "Hone", but then settled on "Ben Shailo", an anagram of his name. By the 1960s he was concentrating on his work for the Daily Telegraph, where he and Tony Holland provided cartoons for the "Peterborough" column - each submitting three roughs a day, from which one would be selected for the next day's paper. Hone also produced a strip cartoon featuring Mr Hard of Heering.

After work at the Bank each day Hone would walk or cycle to the Daily Telegraph. Hone described modern cartooning as "functional, streamlined and athletic", but in the 1980s the proprietor of the Daily Telegraph, Lord Hartwell, urged him to reduce the number of bald men in his cartoons, to help the paper appeal to younger readers. Hone soon drifted back to his old style. Taking early retirement to Leigh in Kent, he became one of the first contributors to fax his material to the Daily Telegraph. Basil Hone died on 7 January 2003.

  • Daily Telegraph, 17 January 2003, p.29, "Basil Hone Cartoonist."
  • Basil Hone "Drawing the Joke", The Old Lady, March 1965, pp.21-24.
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