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Last Updated: Monday, 9 February, 2004, 14:54 GMT
Cartoonist Thelwell dies at 80
Cartoon by Norman Thelwell
Norman Thelwell was best known for his 'pony club' cartoons
One of Britain's most popular cartoonists, Norman Thelwell, has died at the age of 80 after a long illness.

He was best known for his strip featuring pig-tailed girl called Penelope and her pony Kipper.

The pair were frequently seen at gymkhanas - with Penelope hanging on for dear life as her fat, hairy horse charged about in manic fashion.

Thelwell's work was published for many years by Punch and the Sunday Express, and he also produced 32 books.

He died in a nursing home on Saturday after a period of prolonged illness, his agent Ann Mansbridge said. He had also been suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Norman Thelwell
Thelwell was also a landscape artist

Born on 3 May 1923 in Birkenhead on Merseyside, his earliest surviving drawing is a pencil self-portrait done at the age of 10, on which his teacher has written in red ink: "V. good indeed".

'Angels on Horseback'

Joining the Army in 1941 and, spending time in Britain and in India, he always made sure he had his sketchbooks to hand.

The first cartoon he ever had reproduced was an Indian subject for the London Opinion.

He studied and taught design and illustration before taking illustration up full-time in 1956. His first book, a collection of his cartoons, Angels on Horseback, was published in 1957.

Thelwell was also a competent serious landscape artist, painting in water-colour and oils.

Cartoon by Norman Thelwell
His work appeared in Punch and the Daily Express
His 32 books have sold over two million copies in the UK.

A major exhibition of his work is currently touring the country.

He leaves wife Rhona and two children, who are also artists.

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