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Spike Milligan - An Old Friend

Coming up in our 9th July 2018 Fine Arts Sale are two paintings by Spike Milligan, which is great in his centenary year. In this blog, Charles Newington, talks about his friendship with Spike.

Chance meeting

I was lucky enough to have bumped into Spike Milligan one day outside his house by pure chance. We somehow became good friends for the last ten years of his life. He liked the company of artists and, on the whole, disliked the company of comedians, who would always be in danger of treading on his jokes. We got on because we never mentioned the Goons, or anything comical. We had common ground of interest in art seriously and as well India and Rugby.

Silly Verse

He would have liked to have made a career as an artist, but his genius for comic writing and the absurd took over by necessity to earn a living. His brilliant cartoons accompanying his ‘Silly Verse’ became his known work, but underpinning that was a body of existing work which showed the development and potential of a great surrealist painter. As surrealism is not admired much in the UK, he made the right decision!

Last Exhibition

I urged him to unearth these paintings and drawings to present them at his first and last exhibition of ‘Spike Milligan, Artist’ at the Agency Club in St. Martin’s Lane in 1995. ‘Time to Go Home Dear’ and ‘Bendy Doll’, the two pictures for sale in July were shown in this exhibition.

Go For It

I was given the two works by his widow Shelagh after his death. Needs must to sell them, an artist’s life is always impecunious, but I know Spike would have said, ‘Go for it.’

The Jack the Ripper Postcard features in our 30th April 2018 sale which can be viewed here. For more information on the card, please contact Jonathan Riley of Grand Auctions.