The witty and fanciful artist and cartoonist Raymond Peynet was born on 16 November, 1908. His early career in illustration began with Tolmer, a commercial art agency in Paris, where he drew labels for fragrances and chocolates boxes, and progressed to illustrating various commercials. In 1930, Peynet married Denise Damour. Around this time, many of his illustrations appeared in various newspapers and magazines such as: Le Rire, Rire à Deux, Paris Magazine and the The Boulevardier (a newspaper reserved to British expats living in Paris).
In 1942, Peynet was in Valence, in the French department Drome. Sitting on a bench in front of the bandstand of Valence he imagined the caricature of a little violinist with long hair playing alone in front of the bandstand and a girl listening to him. A few years later, his imagined violinist became the figure of a poet; and the girl would become his love (The Poete and his Fiancee). From this, the ne plus ultra of charm and fantasy series of The Lovers‘ books began in the early 1950s.
- The Lovers’ Pocketbook
- The Lovers’ Travelogue
- The Lovers’ Bedside Book
In the introduction of Peynet’s The Lovers’ Pocketbook (1954) the famous English author H.E. Bates wrote:
“Poets, as our heroine remarks, are not as other men, even though they ought to realise that midnight is a reasonable enough hour to come to bed. And Peynet, without doubt is a poet. His world of lovers of parks, of birds, of cherry-time, of daisy-chains, and daisy clocks, of harps that are prisons and bosoms that are symbols is intensely lyrical. It is also intensely French”.
Poetically, Raymond Peynet died at the age of 90 on 14 January in 1999, just one month before St. Valentine’s Day.
- Main image is from front cover of “The Lovers’ Pocketbook (Le Amureaux de Raymond Peynet) (pink background).
- Header image is from back cover of The Lovers’ Bedside Book (blue background)
- B/W sketch “Come along now – closing time!” is from The Lovers’ Bedside Book.