Dudley Watkins’ artwork to go under the hammer

Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop and Councillor Kevin Cordell with the Dudley D. Watkins plaque.
Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop and Councillor Kevin Cordell with the Dudley D. Watkins plaque.

In a truly Scottish take on war propaganda - a cartoon sent up Hitler’s infamous buzz bombs then sent the dictator homeward tae think again.

Now an original piece of artwork by legendary Beano artist, and Broughty Ferry resident, 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 World War II - is set to fetch up to £1500 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 - published in the Beano in April 1940 and described by auctioneers as “an outstanding work” - is expected to fetch up to £1500 when it goes under the hammer at Curr and Dewar in Dundee next Tuesday (March 29).

A full set of Oor Wullie annuals - including a copy of the first edition that is expected to fetch up to £5000 on its own - will also be sold. Steven Dewar, of Curr and Dewar Auctioneers, 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 Antique Roadshow.

Mr Dewar said: “He saw it and thought ‘I’ve seen that’ and went into the loft and there it was. 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 £5000 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. I told him it would be worth somewhere in the £1200 - £1500 range.

“The vendor says he almost certainly bought it from my father at auction in the 70s - and wouldn’t have paid more than £20 for it. The Oor Wullie books would have been pennies when they were first sold.

“The framed artwork is an original, drawn by Dudley D. Watkins. 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. They survive now as outstanding works.”

Dudley D. Watkins is one of the most celebrated cartoonists to have worked on famed DC Thomson comics such as The Beano, Oor Wullie and The Broons.

He died in 1969 - but was honoured in 2013 in a new Historic Scotland scheme with a plaque erected on his Broughty Ferry home.