Les Tres Riches Heures De Mrs Mole By Ronald Searle

New year's Eve 1969, Ronald Searle's wife Monica was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer and told by an emiment specialist that nothing could be done and she was given just six months to live.

But Monica saw another specialist who agreed to try chemotherapy that was experiemental at that time. These sessions continued for five years .

Prior to the cancer shock the couple had bought a decrepit house in the south of France and, despite her illness,  Monica continued to devote her time making this house a home.

Devastated with his wife's diagnosis Ronald did the only thing he knew how to do to cheer her up. .. draw.

Before every chemotherapy session he gave his wife a painting. Monica was depicted as a mole, a very happy mole celebrating life in their new home.  (The Mole idea came after their discovery of a large celler that they made into a cosy room)

The paintings were never meant for publication but following Monica's death this summer ( over FOURTY ONE YEARS from diagnosis)  they have been made into a book.

‘Everything about them had to be romantic and perfect,’ says Ronald.
‘I drew them originally for no one’s eyes except Mo’s, so she would look at them propped up against her bedside lamp and think: “When I’m better, everything will be beautiful

The paintings are just so cute and gorgeous. I can smell the food and flowers and feel the love as she wraps gifts for Xmas

You just gotta see this perfectly lovely little book :) :) :)

Orangetas Orangetas
51-55, F
24 Responses Oct 18, 2011

Hi, thanks for reading and commenting mary and outercalm

I love this story! I love the drawings. And, you friend is lucky to have you by their side.

Thanks for a very heartwarming read.

My friend has just come back from the hospital. The time has come for me to paint pictures of laughter and happiness.

You are a wonderful friend. Love to you both. May you be filled with strength to face this journey. XXX

Monica Searle died in July 2011. Ronald Searle passed away, age 91, on December 30, 2011.

yes, amazing eh

What wonderful illustrations! I'm loving this and the background information. Such a lovely story.<br />
<br />
They have a slight Roald Dahl feel to them. Don't know if that's the right thing to say but I do think they are delightful. Will have to look up his work.<br />
<br />
I quite like the "whimsical" style of illustration. Always really enchanting. Have always been drawn (not pun intended!) to Arthur Rackham's work and style. Think his world of fairy tales and nature and enchantment just lovely!

Hi liguidgold, thanks for reading. I have a very close friend who has been having treatment for cancer so I found this story especially delightful

I am sorry to hear that, Tas. Best wishes for a positive outcome for your friend.

Oh, I am so pleased :)<br />
<br />
I love the art and cant remember when I last read such a heartwarming story

Hiya, thank you :)

divine pictures! the playful, loving mole pics are a delight.thankyou for sharing!

Hiya, womanbliss, yes they are all just so sweet<br />
<br />
I am busy pebble painting at the mo .. I am not sure that making someone a painted pebble everytime they have treatment has the same appeal .. :)

that's lovely OT ... a very moving story and beautiful drawings ... I think my favourite is the last one with the garden full of flowers ... no wait ... the one where she's looking at the sunset ... oh they're all brilliant! thank you for sharing this.

Sometimes love does prevail. Gives all the hopeful romantics a chance I think.

: )

Hi datura , yes they are just so sweet and MUST have helped Monica recover :)

Love truly can create miracles. <br />
<br />
Thanks for sharing this beautiful story and the wonderful illustrations, Tas. I can just feel the love streaming from the colors, imagery and symbols. Wow.

Yes, also noticed she's somewhat fat .. hmmm<br />
<br />
She was slim and beautiful

Hey Tas, did you notice that each drawing of her has little mole breasts?<br />
I think that was very intentional and loving. But that is also the beauty of art...we viewers create our own stories.

This is so sweet and moving. I am so glad you posted this. I'm going to go and see if I can get a copy of this book. :)

Ooooh hallo Wolfey .. good to see you :)

How absolutely beautiful. A desc<x>riptive journey of real love. Love strong enough to survive anything it seems. Beautiful Tas. :-)

Yes, and normally his illustrations are dark .. these are just so cute and loving :)<br />
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And with them at her side .. she got better!!

Yes, it is just SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO loving and romantic :)

I know isn't that just incredibly . she only passed away this year :)

I like the "40 years later" part :-)

Am looking at the pics in the book right now .. they are just precious :)