Fifty years of Private Eye

Frequently hard-hitting, occasionally scurrilous and almost always hilarious, satirical bible Private Eye has been delighting readers and upsetting the great and good since its inception in 1961.

Private Eye front cover, No.75, 30 October 1964

Source: © Private Eye

Private Eye front cover, No.75, 30 October 1964

The Private Eye: The First 50 Years exhibition – to be held at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 18 October-8 January – will turn the focus away from the magazine’s exemplary journalism and on to the magazine’s art and design.

Private Eye front cover, No.340, 10 January 1975

Source: © Private Eye

Private Eye front cover, No.340, 10 January 1975

Private Eye still cultivates a deliberately rough-and-ready aesthetic, harking back to the days when its founders – who included Richard Ingrams, Christopher Booker and original designer Willie Rushton –  would put the magazine together using typewriters and Letraset. Even today the text-heavy magazine still has large sections in black-and-white.

Private Eye front cover, No.594, 21 September 1984

Source: © Private Eye

Private Eye front cover, No.594, 21 September 1984

The V&A show will aim to evoke the atmosphere of the magazine’s Soho office, promising a recreation of the editor’s paper-strewn desk and intriguing-sounding artefacts such as a life-sized cut-out of Tony Blair, a stuffed dog and a flying Robert Maxwell…

Private Eye front cover, No.1147 9-22 December, 2005

Source: © Private Eye

Private Eye front cover, No.1147 9-22 December, 2005

Also on show will be work from some of the stellar array of artists who have contributed to the magazine, including Rushton himself as well as Gerald Scarfe, Ralph Steadman, Barry Fantoni and others.

'You know, I think you're right', Cluff, 1990
’You know, I think you’re right’, Cluff, 1990

Robert Thompson, 2007
Robert Thompson, 2007

To top things off, Private Eye editor Ian Hislop has chosen 50 of his favourite covers for the show – one from every year the magazine has been published.

Trebles all round.

Ken Pyne, 1986
Ken Pyne, 1986

Michael Heath
Michael Heath

Rupert Redway, 2006
Rupert Redway, 2006

The Private Eye: The First 50 Years exhibition will run from 18 October-8 January at The Victoria & Albert Museum is located at Cromwell Road, London SW7.

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