A celebrated illustrator, an outsider artist and a scientist who “helped Britain survive two world wars” are among those to be honoured by a new set of commemorative plaques. Dudley D Watkins, the artist who illustrated Oor Wullie and the Broons for Dundee publisher DC Thomson, is one of 12 historic figures to be chosen in the first year of the Commemorative Plaque Scheme for Scotland. The Historic Scotland endeavour aims to celebrate the life and achievements of historic figures with a plaque on their home or the building most linked to their achievements. Other figures from Courier Country to be chosen are Fife potato geneticist Archibald Findlay and Montrose artist Adam Christie, who lived in an asylum and was buried in a pauper’s grave. Norman McLaren, the Stirling-born experimental filmmaker and electronic music pioneer, has also been selected for a tribute. Watkins was nominated by cartoonist Frank Boyle. He said: “I went to art college in Dundee and I started my career at DC Thomson, so it was good to return to the city to see the plaque unveiled. “I hope it helps to give Dudley D Watkins the respect he deserves and to increase the prestige of cartooning as an art form.” A plaque was unveiled at Watkins’ former home on Reres Road, Broughty Ferry, by Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop. She said: “The Commemorative Plaque Scheme highlights the range of incredible creativity shown by the talented people in Scotland, celebrating individuals such as Dudley D Watkins, illustrator for DC Thomson whose illustrations of well-loved characters from Oor Wullie and the Broons still bring humour and joy into our lives.” Potato expert and author Alan Romans said of Findlay, from Auchtermuchty: “He never got the recognition for producing the varieties that helped us survive both world wars. British Queen was the main potato eaten during the First World War, while British Queen and Majestic fed the nation during the Second World War.” Watkins illustrated the Dandy and the Beano, creating characters such as Desperate Dan, Biffo the Bear and Lord Snooty.
A drawing featuring many favourite DC Thomson comic characters, including The Broons, Oor Wullie and Desperate Dan, has sold for £440 at an auction in Dundee. The A4-sized sheet was drawn in September 1960 by Dudley D. Watkins, the cartoonist and illustrator whose work graced the pages of The Dandy, The Beano and The Sunday Post. It was included in a sale on Thursday at auctioneers B. L. Fenton & Sons, Victoria Road the first time the firm has sold one of Watkins' works. The hammer came down at £440. Before the auction, spokesman Richard Fenton said, "It has got all The Broons and Oor Wullie on his bucket with Fat Boab and Soapy Soutar. Desperate Dan is there too along with Biffo the Bear and other characters. "A family got in touch with us to say they were interested in selling it." The pre-sale estimate was £300 to £500.Treasure from the archives: the gems of Dudley D. Watkins
Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...
It was a truly Scottish take on war propaganda a cartoon sending up Hitler’s infamous buzz bombs before sending the dictator homeward tae think again. Now an original piece of artwork by legendary Beano artist Dudley D Watkins whose name is said to have been on a “death list” of enemies of the Third Reich due to his comic mocking of the Germans during the Second World War is set to fetch up to £1,500 when it is sold at auction. The full-size framed Lord Snooty cartoon shows German bombers suspending a bee hive from swastika-adorned planes. But they don’t faze Lord Snooty and pals who only try to take revenge because the “secret weapon” interrupts their football game. The artwork was published in the Beano in April 1940 and is described by auctioneers as “an outstanding work”. A full set of Oor Wullie annuals including a copy of the first edition that is expected to sell for up to £5,000 on its own will also go under the hammer at Curr and Dewar in Dundee next Tuesday. Auctioneer Steven Dewar said the Oor Wullie books were attracting significant interest from collectors as they go on sale during the 80th anniversary year of the comic strip’s creation. He said the books were found in an attic by their owner after he had spotted an identical one on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow. Mr Dewar added: “They were his father’s but he has no family and so the time was right to sell them. “The last one of these first editions I saw on sale, at the end of last year, sold for around the £5,000 mark. “I had put a note on our website about the Oor Wullie books and another seller approached me with the Dudley D Watkins artwork. “It was drawn for Beano number 92 and appeared on April 27 1940. “Whether there was a little bit of a government push to boost the people’s morale we don’t know. “It is a great story, it really is. “The thought processes behind these artworks are so incredible.”
Auchenshoogle's first family are set to tread the boards of theatres around Scotland, as The Broons are brought to life to celebrate their 80th anniversary. Glasgow's Theatre Royal announced on Wednesday that Maw, Paw and the rest of The Broon clan are set to be the stars of an upcoming stage production in November. The Glebe Street family have appeared in the Sunday Post since 1936 and this will be the first time the characters will have appeared on stage. Rob Drummond has been tasked with writing the script for the play and said he was “thrilled” to be involved. A threatre spokesman said: “We are thrilled to be honouring these much-loved characters and bringing them to life on stage. “It will be filled by laughs, love and comic strip visuals, all set to a Scottish soundtrack.” Producers for the show are remaining tight-lipped as to just who will be starring in the iconic roles. Morris Heggie, who has edited The Broons comic strip since 2006, said that the play is sure to generate a “huge” amount of interest. “The Broons have never been on stage before, so it is a whole new venture for them. “The play will be travelling around Scotland and it will generate a huge amount of interest, there is absolutely no doubt about that. “The Broons was Scotland’s first soap opera. People relate to the characters and they care about them. “It’s a little slice of Scottish life and people want to see what happens next. The strips are also wonderfully drawn.” The Broons first appeared in DC Thomson’s Sunday Post on March 8 1936 and, along with Oor Wullie, became a staple of Scottish life. The comic was created in Dundee by RD Low and originally illustrated by artist Dudley D Watkins. Dudley D Watkins, who also illustrated strips in The Beano and The Dandy, passed away at his drawing desk in 1969. The play is set to tour after its run at the Theatre Royal and will visit stages across Perth, Stirling and Aberdeen. Tickets are available now from the Theatre Royal website.
He's known as Oor Wullie, Your Wullie, A'Body's Wullie. But is the famous DC Thomson character first and foremost Dundee's Wullie? City street poet Gary Robertson reckons so – and this new video of his invective verse attacking the perceived west coast-ification of the Dundee-born cartoon icon has gone viral online since it was posted on Wednesday morning. It was written 10 years ago, but has been performed again to coincide with the hugely popular Oor Wullie Bucket Trail. Be warned: Gary is not one for mincing his words. "Auchenshoogle", "Whit", "Fitba", "Jings, Crivvens and Help ma boab!", The Sunday Post, Dudley D Watkins and even DC Thomson itself all come in for a lashing as Gary cuts loose. (There's even the kind of sweary words that would leave Primrose Paterson blushing.) But it's all in good sport and shows Gary at his free-flowing lyrical best as he "puts the record straight" and reminds everyone that Wullie's a "Dundee boy oary an proud". Gary told The Courier the poem is "just a wee 'tongue in cheek' view wi' a bit o' Dundee banter." He added: "I wrote it aboot 10 years ago when I noticed the annuals and Sunday Post pieces (along with The Broons) were getting too west coast-ish accents for my liking. "The old original annuals from the 1930/40s had a lot more Oary Dundee dialect. "Anyway, thank you Dudley D Watkins and DC Thomson's for countless years o' enjoyment wi' Wullie an' The Broons!" 50,000 views and counting. Has the west coast got the message now?
The sale at Dundee auctioneers Curr & Dewar on Tuesday was a celebration of local artefacts. A sketch book of drawings by comic book artist Dudley D. Watkins, dating from 1945, went for £1600. The book had just three drawings, one of the Broons and two of Oor Wullie. It was expected to go for around £1000. There was also a plastercast of Oor Wullie at the auction. He was again seated on his upturned bucket and this sold for £240. Watkins' characters seem to have an enduring appeal and a box of Broons and Oor Wullie annuals from various decades raised £80. Two Dundee-made Grandfather clocks dating from the late 18th and early 19th centuries were also under the hammer. The one made by James Cameron is Forfar-bound having been sold for £1100. The other did not reach its reserve. Meanwhile, a wooden sign from Franchi's lunch and tearoom, a famous establishment in the old Overgate, went for £190.
A rare Oor Wullie book has fetched £2,800 at auction in Dundee. A copy of the very first edition was among a collection of works by DC Thomson that went under the hammer at Curr and Dewar auctioneers. It was sold alongside the third edition of The Broons, which fetched £1,400, and a wartime Lord Snooty comic strip by legendary artist Dudley D Watkins, that was sold for £950. A copy of the second Oor Wullie annual was bought for £1,500 while an edition of the third fetched £900. The Oor Wullie books were discovered in an attic after their owner spotted similar ones being valued on the BBC’s Antique Roadshow.
A familiar face was on hand to oversee the opening of police archives in Fife stretching back 140 years. PC Murdoch from The Sunday Post's Oor Wullie comic strip was based on Kincardine policeman PC Sandy Marnoch, so it was only fitting he was on hand to guard the archives at Markinch. The records were transferred to Fife Council archives in 2002 and contain the service records of police officers who joined the Dunfermline City force between 1874 and 1913, the Burgh of Kirkcaldy force between 1877 and 1948 and the county force from 1858 to 1950. The name index to the registers of police officers has been completed and is available at www.fifedirect.org.uk/archives, making it easier for historians to track down records. "Fife Constabulary is committed to taking policing closer to the community and this initiative by the council's archivists helps us to do this by allowing local people to look at our historical records at the archives and also online," said PC Paul McGlashan. "It was fascinating to see how policing has changed over the years and our community-led approach is very different to how our predecessors operated." One of those who served in the local constabulary during the Second World War was Dudley D. Watkins, the author and cartoonist who created Oor Wullie and The Broons. During his time as a PC, Watkins worked alongside PC Marnoch a legendary character in the town allegedly taking no nonsense from the local population. Watkins based the character of PC Murdoch almost entirely on PC Marnoch, changing the name only slightly.
Items including paintings by Dundee artist Alberto Morrocco and a rare first edition Oor Wullie annual go under the hammer in Edinburgh next month. The lots are part of the yearly Bonhams Scottish Sale, which takes place at the Queen Street saleroom between August 17 and August 20. Other lots to be auctioned include Christmas gifts from Queen Victoria to John Brown, paintings by the Scottish Colourists and a bottle of whisky salvaged from the "Whisky Galore" ship SS Politician. Born in Aberdeen, Alberto Morrocco joined the city's Gray's School of Art at the age of 14. In 1950, after being demobbed from the second world war, he was appointed head of painting at Dundee's Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, holding the post until 1983. He exhibited regularly and his work is in public and private collections throughout Britain. He died in Dundee in 1998. Works of his going under the hammer include The Harbour, Aberdeen, which is expected to fetch up to £30,000; Two Figures on a Beach; Girl with Caged Bird; Afternoon at Fondachello and Still Life with Fruit and Sunflower. The Oor Wullie annual, which dates from 1940, is estimated to attract bids in the region of £800 to £1200. It is described as "very scarce" and has childish pencil drawings inside. DC Thomson comics editor Morris Heggie said annuals from this time were particularly rare because people were encouraged to save and recycle paper as part of the war effort. He said, "It's one of these things, it's rare because it's so old. These books were not meant to last and, during the war, all the children were encouraged to recycle their comics." Malcolm Phillips, director of Comic Book Auctions Ltd, has been selling comics and annuals for almost 20 years and has encountered thousands of DC Thomson titles. He said, "Oor Wullie is the little boy that we all want to be or that we wish we still were. He's Scotland's softer version of Dennis the Menace and he was drawn by Dudley D Watkins, Scotland's greatest artist. "He drew The Broons, Desperate Dan and various other characters including Biffo the Bear and Lord Snooty. Anything by the artist is collectible." Mr Phillips added that the much sought-after annuals were originally "bi-annuals" of the weekly adventures that appeared in the Sunday Post, with a Broons publication coming out every other year. Comic Book Auctions Ltd is due to auction two original Oor Wullie artworks by Dudley D Watkins in September that date from 1944 and 1964.