Review: Barry Fantoni: Public Eye, Private Eye

By Lindsey Last edited 117 months ago
Review: Barry Fantoni: Public Eye, Private Eye

Carmen Miranda, 1965
Fans of Private Eye will know Barry Fantoni better as the elegiac EJ Thribb (aged 17½) author of meandering spoof obituary poems and as the penner of cartoon, "Scenes you seldom see". For the first time his private life as an artist is exposed at a discreet exhibition on Old Bond Street.

The gallery is hidden away in what appears to be a residential block with a uniformed doorman but don't be put off. Go in and up to the first floor to find the red shoed Fantoni's diverse works. People and famous faces feature strongly - images of past lovers are mixed up with the Beatles, Anna Ford and Angela Rippon side by side, Honor Blackman (reading a book about how to act), a severe Wallis Simpson and a vibrant Carmen Miranda. His Camberwell schooling is reflected in a series of Brixton Hill sunsets, the tree next to the college and a painting of a bustling Brockwell Park Lido, conjuring reminiscences of Seurat's Bathers. Private Eye gets a look in too, with some of his very funny seldom seen cartoons breaking up the paintings.

Spanning 40 years and ranging across styles, periods and celebrities, this is a fun show.

Barry Fantoni: Public Eye, Private Eye is at Thomas Williams Fine Art, 22 Old Bond Street, until 22 May. Admission free.

Last Updated 27 April 2009