Neville Weeraratne, being Chapter IX in his opus, entitled “Collette’s Cullings. The satirist’s fine line”
Everybody enjoyed Aubrey Collette’s work though he would not have satisfied every political aspiration. You turned to him for your reading of the day, originally in the Times of Ceylon, later in the Observer, and then as ‘Spur’ in a series he did for the Daily News as well. He gave a sharp edge to his drawing which, indeed, was capable of cutting deeply but never maliciously. Collette had the rare and splendid gift of observation: to remember a foible, to swiftly size up a characteristic, and enjoy having summed up the hapless one who had fortuitously wandered into his sights. To have been noticed by Collette was itself honour enough, and those who had been so distinguished by a portrait, as in Collette’s 1954 FACES – a collection of seventy-three pastel studies – soon bought them up, more for the immortality it conferred on them than for the fear of what their enemies might make of the caricatures. Collette very simply had the gift of showing some how others saw them, bestowing upon them the poet’s wish. You might have rejected these insights as subjective had you not yourself been drawn inevitably into the process of assessing the subject.