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Smilby cartoons from Hugh Hefner’s Playboy magazines to be auctioned off in Bromley

PUBLISHED: 10:44 28 September 2017 | UPDATED: 10:44 28 September 2017

Francis Wilford-Smith's work will be auctioned off in November and December

Francis Wilford-Smith's work will be auctioned off in November and December

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More than 150 pieces will be auctioned off across two dates

Smilby Cartoons will be auctioned off in Bromley across two datesSmilby Cartoons will be auctioned off in Bromley across two dates

The work of a renowned cartoonist who drew for the likes of Playboy magazine is to be auctioned off in Bromley.

Francis Wilford-Smith, who drew under the name Smilby, was one of the most successful cartoonists and advertising artist of his day, drawing from the 1950s to the 1990s.

In 1960 he began a successful relationship with Playboy magazine, and its creator Hugh Hefner who died on Wednesday aged 91.

The artist went on to produce more than 350 full-page colour cartoons for the magazine.

Smilby Cartoons will be auctioned off in Bromley across two datesSmilby Cartoons will be auctioned off in Bromley across two dates

Working with magazines and companies including Guinness and Boots, Mr Wilford-Smith kept drawing until 1998, when he was forced to retire due to failing eyesight.

The artist died in 2009 after a long battle with Parkinson’s.

Now one of the iconic cartoonist’s descendants has decided to auction off his work, which includes strips from publications like the New Yorker, Housewife and Diners Club.

Around 150 lots from the Smilby Cartoon Collection will go on sale at Catherine Southon Auctioneers & Valuers, with the first 60 up for grabs on Wednesday, November 1.

Smilby Cartoons will be auctioned off in Bromley across two datesSmilby Cartoons will be auctioned off in Bromley across two dates

The pieces are expected to fetch between £100 and £200 each, with some of the more renowned pieces thought to pick up around £1,000.

Bargain Hunt star Catherine Southon said: “This collection of artwork has to be one of the most exciting projects I have come across in recent years; the quality of the drawings are simply stunning.

“The colours of the Playboy drawings in particular, are so bright and fresh, and although some of the themes are a little risqué- the majority are very Carry on Camping!!

“Many of the drawings also have a gentle nudge towards the 1930s, an era which Smilby loved, with their striking colours and deco design.

Smilby Cartoons will be auctioned off in Bromley across two datesSmilby Cartoons will be auctioned off in Bromley across two dates

“But what excites me most is that each cartoon is unique and a stunning work of art in its own right. I am sure they will make great Christmas presents, we even have some Christmas-themed cartoons.”

The works will be auctioned off across two dates, on November 1 and December 6 at Catherine Southon Auctioneers & Valuers in the Ripley Arts Centre on Sundridge Ave.

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