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Fun on the Kerbstone

Perhaps the most famous and beloved of all the screevers; yet today, Percy Pickle the pavement artist has largely been forgotten.

Yet another victim in the untold (until now) story of pavement art

Percy was the very first EVER weekly comic book pavement artist character. He first saw the light of day in the Amalgamated Press comic story paper MERRY & BRIGHT. Published every Thursday and costing half-a-penny (which was considered quite expensive back then) It was a mixture of written children’s stories & comic strip spreads with jokes. The first issue was published by the Amalgamated Press on the 22nd October 1910 and continued every week until 1935.

Percy Pickle.....The world's first internationaly famous pavement artist! (1910)

Percy Pickle.....The world's first internationaly famous pavement artist! (1910)

For 25 years Percy was known by every school boy and girl throughout the land for his “Kerbstone antics” a loveable rogue, he was a master at drawing himself out of mischief and getting his own back on the law. Merry & Bright was part of The Amalgamated Press Ltd of London, and as such Percy’s antics were also published in Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Tis without doubt; Percy Pickle was a pavement artist of international renown!

Original Daily Mirror advert for MERRY & BRIGHT published Fri. 21st Oct 1910

Original Daily Mirror advert for MERRY & BRIGHT published Fri. 21st Oct 1910

I’ve recently acquired over 52 weekly episodes of Percy’s adventures (MERRY & BRIGHT comics) from between 1914 and 1915 (the start of WWI) and although I can’t promise to share them all in this blog, I’ll certainly make time to scan a few in…..here’s the first one from the September issue published on the 14th Sept. 1914

PERCY PICKLE adventure: published in Merry & Bright, Sept. 12th 1914 (Vol 3-No-204)  Click on image to enlarge!

PERCY PICKLE adventure: published in Merry & Bright, Sept. 12th 1914 (Vol 3-No-204)

Merry & Bright used a relatively small group of mostly freelance British artists, with the same basic style. The basic tenant appears to have been the requirement for an artist to duplicate the style of other artists, whether for holiday cover or simply to enforce a house style.

Note: although Percy’s adventures in Merry & Bright ended on the 19th January 1931 when the last issue was printed….Percy’s character continued in another AP press comic called ‘BUTTERFLY’ which continued until 1939, the publication was stopped due to the outbreak of WWII; as with all comics, it had fallen victim to the shortage of paper during wartime…..I’m still researching that one ;-)

Written and researched by Philip Battle

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