Sidney Harris; maybe a name you’ve not heard of, but you’ll certainly know his cartoons if you’re of a scientific bent – although Rolf and Richard Harris are probably more famous. As it turns out, being based in New Haven, CT, Sidney is quite local to us here in Westborough, MA.
Anyway, I have a confession to make to my wife, Wendy, and this public forum may be one way of doing this… (Perhaps it’s better to talk to her directly, but in this modern age, why bother when we can just text). I’ve always been a fan of Sid’s and possessed, over the years, a number of his excellent books and have seen the cartoons in a variety of journals and publications, such as The New Yorker. You’ll see how recognizable his material is by going onto his website: http://www.sciencecartoonsplus.com/index.php
You may also see from the website that originals of his cartoons are now being sold. I would have loved the ‘Particles, particles, particles’ one but I suspect that this was snapped up very early on.
Confession part one
Well, once hooked I needed an original and the Leeuwenhoek cartoon had always amused me and yes the original was available (part of my confession!):
It had appeared in a clinical journal and the original was priced lower than others because it had two address stickers on the back. But Sidney Harris would sign the print and the original too.
So I sent my check off and shortly received the two signed cartoons plus an authentication letter for the original.
Compounding the confession
And, then, what next? Well they had to be framed didn’t they…?
So, I went to an excellent local framers in Westborough – something I don’t do too often – to find out that the framing was nearly as expensive as the original, and much more expensive than the print… Well, it’s only money isn’t it?
Interestingly one then finds out that the color of the original isn’t pure white – it’s slightly yellowed with time and that means another (same cost though) mat or mount. I’m not the artist of the family (Wendy is Prime Minister and Minister of Arts; I’m Minister of Science), so the owner of the framing store has to make this selection. On the plus side, the framer has managed to incorporate the authentication on the back of the frame.
So two weeks later and with a considerably lighter wallet, I’m the proud owner of two signed Sidney Harris cartoons – and an original too.
When do I tell Wendy?