British cartoonist Raymond Briggs, whose book “The Snowman” fascinated generations of children around the world, has died aged 88, his family announced on Wednesday.
“We know Raymond’s books have touched millions of people around the world, who will be saddened to hear this news,” his family said in a statement.
‘The Snowman’, a book of colored pencil and textless drawings published in 1978, has sold 5.5 million copies worldwide. Its hero is a boy who builds a snowman that comes to life.
Adapted into an animated film in 1982 and presented with an introduction by singer David Bowie, its unforgettable images and music have since become associated with Christmas.
A Raymond Briggs he didn’t like christmas parties and the end of the year and her story didn’t seem so happy.
Its melancholy end, When the boy discovers that his friend has melted away leaving only his hat and scarf, it highlights how fleeting things are.
“I don’t believe in happy endings,” Raymond Briggs told The Daily Telegraph in 2007. “Children have to face death sooner or later… So there’s no point in avoiding it.”
‘Santa Claus’ (1973) was Briggs’ first bestselling book. In this one, Santa Claus is a cantankerous old man who hates the cold and the snow and finds having to deliver presents unbearable.
In 2019, Raymond Briggs addressed old age and death in a melancholy book (“Time for Lights Out”). He also collaborated with The Oldie, a magazine created as “a cheerful alternative to a press obsessed with youth and celebrity”.
A curmudgeon with a big heart
“All those close to him knew his irreverent humor, which could prove to be biting when he came to power. He had liked the editorial in the (British) newspaper The Guardian which called him an ‘iconoclastic national treasure'”, added the same source. .
Briggs’ most famous books are based on his life and are nostalgic for the England of his childhood in the 1930s and 1940s in Wimbledon, south-west London.
There is a delicate atmosphere where the characters wear striped pajamas, dresses and slippers, and drink countless cups of tea by the fire in their red brick houses.
His work evokes 20th century British social history and reflects social class, education and changing politics.Briggs’ universe has never been watered down: loss and regret are recurring themes.
His wife, Jean, whom he met at the Slade School of Fine Art in London where he studied in the late 1950s, was an abstract painter with schizophrenia who died of leukemia in 1973, a few months after the death of the brothers. .
His partner of 40 years, Liz, died of Parkinson’s disease in 2015.
His longtime editor, Julia MacRae, felt that, as with his Santa’s picture, “Briggs’ grumpy character belied a big heart.”
“He loved his fans’ drawings, especially children’s drawings, and displayed them on the wall in his studio,” his family said.