On New year’s Eve 1969, Ronald Searle’s wife Monica was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer and she agreed to undergo a new experimental form of treatment known as chemotherapy. The couple was devastated by the diagnosis, but Searle sought to cheer them both up the only way he know how…by drawing:
Before every chemotherapy session he gave his wife a painting. Monica was depicted as a mole, a very happy mole celebrating life in their new home. (The Mole idea came after their discovery of a large celler that they made into a cosy room)
‘Everything about them had to be romantic and perfect,’ says Ronald. ‘I drew them originally for no one’s eyes except Mo’s, so she would look at them propped up against her bedside lamp and think: “When I’m better, everything will be beautiful.”
What a wonderful sentiment. Monica proceeded to live until last summer (41 years after her breast cancer diagnosis) and Ronald passed away earlier this year in January. His drawings for Monica, never meant for publication, have been compiled into a new book.