The British Caricaturist Sue Macartney-Snape
Caricature always has sarcasm and social criticism intertwined with the art form. In fact, it is social sensitivity that makes caricature much loved (and hated as well). Sue Macartney-Snape is one of those enthralling caricature artists in Britain. She entertains and pokes fun at the inconsistencies and hypocrisies of British society, even if its members appreciate her original canvases or purchase her hugely sought after limited-edition prints.
Born in Tanganyika and brought up in Australia, Sue's caricature prints adorn many British houses. Now living in London and working on characters in the 'Social Stereotypes' column of the Telegraph Magazine, Macartney-Snape has become a almost a household name in Britain, so much so that she is called the P.G. Wodehouse of Art. According to John Julius Norwich, Sue's paintings on canvas "illustrate the English social scene more brilliantly and with greater accuracy than those of any other painter working today." This "master of caricature" has certainly caught the imagination of critics.
Sue has held many sell-out exhibitions and has received plenty of commissions. It proves that though she views society and people in a hilarious or sarcastic manner, people like it. They love to see things from her perspective. It throws light on a new dimension of life every time. Ironically, it's the often members of this high society who are avid collectors of her paintings on canvas or Limited Editions that are published in-house.
The amazing lifelikeness of Sue's characters stems from her close observation of people and life around her. Ned Sherrin believes "Sue Macartney-Snape's observation suggests that she has eyes on stalks." She travels around the wide world, and as she encounters people and situations around her she not only stores what she perceives in her mind, but maintains a drawing notebook on the individuals she sees. She adds her observations on different occasions. It's from this reservoir that Sue then draws, sketching a specific idea for an individual and a situation. One of the hallmarks of Sue's paintings is the stunning attention to detail, a result of her close observation and sharp mind. Some of Sue's paintings are done in A4 size while others can vary, with some such as Cheltenham and Henley being painted on extremely large canvases.
Since 1994, nine books dealing with her original stereotypes have been published, and have sold like hot cakes. Macartney-Snape won the 2004 Pont Award for her accurate depiction of the British character. According to Gyles Brandreth, "Sue Macartney-Snape belongs to a tradition that runs from William Hogarth to Ronald Searle." The Sloane Club and leading galleries in London have witnessed sell-out exhibitions of her paintings.