John Butterworth, for 15 years the art editor of the Mail on Sunday, has died, aged 61, following a period of illness. He left the Mail on Sunday in 1997 and was living in retirement in Auvillar in the south of France.
A native of Blackpool, he studied at the Blackpool School of Art before moving to London and joining the Daily Mail, then edited by Mike Randall, in 1966.
It was the start of a long and varied career, which saw him working at leading newspapers both on Fleet Street and in America.
In 1971, following the merger of the Daily Mail and the Sketch, he freelanced at The Observer and at The Sunday Times. In 1973, he joined The Sun, where one of his tasks was to design charts for editor Larry Lamb depicting The Sun’s ascent over the Daily Mirror.
The year 1979 brought another change when John joined the London Evening News, and then in 1981 he moved to the US to work on the New York Daily News and SoHo Magazine. It was while in New York that he was approached with the offer to join the fledgling Mail on Sunday as art editor – a position which he took up in 1981.
He weathered the storms of the MoS’s early days and was one of the longest-serving ‘old hands’at the title, his career there encompassing the change from hot metal to computerised production and the paper’s relocation from Fleet Street to Kensington.
As the Mail on Sunday flourished, John’s art department grew. Many of his younger staff came from his old art college in Blackpool, with which he retained links until the end of his stint there.
John’s funeral took place in Auvillar, France 24 September. His colleagues are arranging an informal get-together in his memory.
Contact the Mail of Sunday art department on 020 7938 7090.