BRITISH GRAPHIC SATIRE 1840-1900 (DAWN, Nuggets, Punch etc)

World Cartoons 1939



Caricature , " a general term for the art of applying the grotesque to the purposes of satire, and for pictorial and plastic ridicule and burlesque." Encyclopaedia Britannica.

"With respect to the arts, our poor neglected public are left to form their hearts and their understanding upon these lessons, not of morality and philanthropy, but of envy, malignity and horrible disorder, which everywhere stare them in the face, in the profligate caricatura firniture of print-shops, from Hyde Park Corner to Whitechapel. Better, better far, there had been no art, than thus to pervert and employ it to purposes so base, and so subversive of everything interesting to society." James Barry 1795, letter to the Dilettanti Society.



David Low. Cover motif from Ye Madde Designer 1935.

Herblock bemoans the predicament of the newspaper political cartoonist prey to everybody with a gag and a proposition. From The Herblock Book, Beacon Books, Boston 1952.

A portrait of Thomas Rowlandson from Joseph Grego's Rowlandson the Caricaturist , Chatto and Windus, London 1880.

Vicky chases Attlee, Churchill and Herbert Morrison , from the cover of Stabs in the Back , cartoons by Vicky (Victor Weisz) for the News Chronicle, Max Reinhart, London 1952

Arthur Watts, "The Caricaturist", from G.Montague Ellwood, The Art of Pen Drawing Batsford London 1927. A contrast to the Herblock vision of the satirist's trade.



JOHN BULL. Just because England is represented by this fat oaf doesn't mean we have to accept the choice uncritically. Little used today, John Bull can represent the sturdy sensible qualities of the imperturable Englishman. He is usually shown without signs of much imagination or energy. He is usually obese and intolerant of Foreigners. He is slow to act but steady in his progress.

His most bovine appearences were for PUNCH magazine over a long period. I enjoy the study of him because it is usefu lto see how foreign cartoonists used his qualities to attack british foreign policies. You also have the option of Britannia (sexy), and the Lion (proud, defiant or indeed motheaten) to epitomise the English people.

01 A thinner Bull demanded by the deprivations of Total War. John Bull scatters salt on the tail of the American Eagle, the cover of the radical American magazine. Marianne helps Bull to mock the Bird. KEN , 1939.

02 The Little Less by Guy Reed and Fougasse,.Methuen London 1938

03 A contrary vision from the German Fascist press; cartoon by "lill" published in Das Schwarze Korps , date unknown, c1937



TURBULENCE - it is characteristic of much graphic satire that the image shows the collapse of existing structures, of pomposities, of pretensions. The skill is to show the teetering, the moements before the great collapse. Choosing the exact moment is a great science, as is the calculation and depiction of expression and gesture.


01 Gillray, The Promised Horrors of the French Invasion published 20th October 1796 Charles James Fox in revolutionary dress flogs William Pitt as the streets run with blood and figures (Canning and Jenkinson) hang from the street lamps.
 compare Les Formes Acerbes of the same year Promis'd Horrors of the French INVASION is typical of Gillray's mature satirical work building on the spatial conventions of William Hogarth's print world with an exuberence of form, a sort of terribility in the service of the Comic. Gillray could draw well - with particularities of gesture and expression.

02 Thomas Rowlandson, From Joseph Grego's Rowlandson the Caricaturist , Chatto and Windus, London 1880. "Chaos is Come Again',a drawing of the collapse of Covent Garden Theatre, social satire, the puncturing of cultural pomposity.

03 Anon, The Glorious Minority in 1763, with the Head of the Majority Blazon's, an esoteric comment on the Wilkes Affair, with the head of Bute on a Pole; here to persuade you of the control and invention of the satiric print before Gillray. There is a Hogarthian feel to the parade of physiognomies above, and a wealth of references built into the image structure. The recourse to heraldic imagery is a clue as to the most likely readership.




04 James Gillray's Siege de la Colonne de Pompee, or Science in the Pillary, a comment on the fate of the uppity French scientists who had sauntered forth in Egypt on their scientific investigations only to be met by what Gillray assumed to be the Native Folks.

06 Wyndham Robinson, see text beneath "Protective Arrest" 20th March 1936, Goebbels and Göring take the emblematic figure of Peace. As you'll see from these examples, Robinson was a man who didn;t much care about a visual background for his figures (unlike Low who delighted in setting his participants in rooms, Elysian Fields, Cinemas etc - anything that really helped his point).




01 "When I caricature Mr.Baldwin's Nose", from David Lowe, Ye Madde Designer ,Studio London 1935,p.15.A conventional but effective technique used by Gillray ("Doublures"), by Harry Furniss (Gladstone's collar) and by Daumier (Louis Philippe as Pear) - to identify the characteristic feature of a face and take it a series of changes towards the utterly basic. Low's command of this process marks him beyond the usual graphic formulae of the Press artists.

02 Wyndham Robinson International Exchange of Fashions 18th July 1936, given the marketing of a suit called the Eden in Norway.



03 Thomas Rowlandson Charity Covereth a Multitude of Sins a young buck flashes his gold off outside a brothel From Joseph Grego's Rowlandson the Caricaturist ,Chatto and Windus, London 1880.
04 Grotesque portrait, Consistency, single satirical print published by Hodgson in London, undated c1835 17 x 26cms

05 Grotesque portrait, Fly away Pretty Moth, single satirical print published by Hodgson in London, undated c1835 17 x 26cms



06 Hynes, Christmas Visions of Politicians Hynes cover for the Christmas edition of the saucy British Men's Magazine, MEN ONLY December 1949. With portraits of Stafford Cripps as Jester , Clem Attlee in fez, Ernie Bevan in Chinese hat, Herbert Morison as Santa and a whitefaced Churchill as clown.

07, 08 Patick Lee An Innovative caricatural style COURIER was a Quarterly magazine published in London 1937 and 1938, slightly raffish and notable as the employer of the cartoonist VICKY whose uncharacteristic social drawings pepper the pages. It also employed Patrick O'Lee about whom little is known. He specialised in a shiny, almost porcelain style of caricature, executed in airbrush, with an innovative shiny look. He always achieved an excellent likeness. In terms of slickness he could outslick many American social caricaturists such as Sam Berman. I offer two examples here to show his unusual qualities. The Music Hall artists Jack Hulbert and Cicely Courtnedge
George Formby and Bette Davis.

05 Thomas Rowlandson and a characteristic exrcise in the grotesque portrait, further emphasised by deliberate contrast of age over the newspaper.From Jospeh Grego.



01 Scotch Politics to be read backwards like a Witch's Prayer see full text beneath

02 The Stage Medley and finally a chaos of arrangement an anonymous single sheet engraving of 1728 attacking the public taste for John Gay's The Beggar's Opera. This is a fascinating alternative, very muck a strip cartoon with a trompe l'oeil scattering of peeling paper.


03 The Miller's Maid Grinding Old Men Young anonymous artist, satirical print on sex as rejuvenation, with a landscape divided between the barren and the fruitful. A monk pleads in vain. Published by Sayer of Fetter Lane, London undated 20 x 29cms, undated but c 1750. This is beautufully paced in a compositional format that is highly stylised, like The Seven Ages of Man.

04 Wyndham Robinson - almost an image from the Satiric past this - the great maw of the Communist exploiter devouring the Jarrow hunger marches.

See also The Bubbler's Medley 1720, 305 x 385mm ; and a graphic comment on the South Sea Bubble and financial speculation of the day.

See also British images of the Bolshevik; 1919-1938 (foot of screen)



Wyndham Robinson

The Morning Post folded in 1936, or rather was absorbed into The Daily Telegraph . It was a Tory newspaper, that is professing allegiance to the Conservative Party, and to its far Right tendency. Wyndham Robinson was its cartoonist, and as the Labour politician Herbert Morrison records in the introduction to the last compilation of published cartoons, reflected the political stance of the newspaper itself. "He said in pictures what the leader writers said on the editorial page." It was not always thus. The cartoonist of his generation, David Low, promoted values and opinions totally at variance to his employer, Max Beaverbrook. Herbert Morrison encountered Robinson the usual way that a politican meets a cartoonist - in pursuit of the original artwork. He was remarkably tolerant given the images that follow. They measure 17 x 25 cms in the format published by Herbert Jenkins, London.








James Gillray some selected plates
William Hogarth selection
THOMAS ROWLANDSON, The Dance of Death series
Classicism Satirised (Honoré Daumier)

anon, The Modern Phenomenon of a Murphy the Gullcatcher of 1838 (Mullen Collection)

The Looking Glass , (Caricature Annual McLean 1831-5 plates by Heath and Seymour

WILLIAM HONE AND HIS ARTISTS, Cruikshank and others ,












PHILIP GUSTON, Poor Richard (Nixon)

NICHOLAS ROBINSON , Edmund Burke, a life in Caricature. bibliog details

VINCENT CARRETTA , George III and the Caricaturists. bibliog details

JOHN WARDROPER , The caricatures of George Cruikshank . bibliog details

KENNETH BAKER , GEORGE III a life in caricature . bibliog details

ANDREW BARLOW , The Prince and his Pleasures (George IV) . bibliog details

Klingender and Maisky, Russia, Britain's Ally, 1942, a selection of plates

CARICATURE HISTORY OF THE FOUR GEORGES, Thomas Wright 1867 , pages from Klingender




THE MILLTOWNS, a family reunion, Dublin, caricatures by Patch and Reynolds, the Britishin Rome.



DRAPER HILL , Fashionable Contrasts (James Gillray) . bibliog details




ALFRED LONGDEN , Cartoon, Wit and Caricature in Britain , 1944

BOHUN LYNCH, A History of Caricature, 1926



Karl Voll, French Drawings of the Nineteenth Century 1913, Daumier, Dore, Gavarni, Beaumont, etc

Karl Voll, French Drawings of the Nineteenth Century 1913, Daumier, Dore, Gavarni, Beaumont, etc second selection

M. Dorothy George, Hogarth to Cruikshank, Social Change in Graphic Satire.

M. Dorothy George, London Life in the Eighteenth Century biblio

John Brewer, , The Pleasures of the Imagination, English Culture in the Eighteenth Century biblio



HUET , Singeries...(Paris c 1750) Musicians as Monkeys

Stanley Anderson, False Gods, c1930 engraving

The British National Debt as Balloon 1785
anonymous book of Caricatures of ecclesiastical anarchy in the Netherlands Louvain 1706

William Heath, The Prime Lobster (Wellington) undated

THOMAS PATCH Self Portrait holding Callipers over a mask 1768- 1770 print inscribed at the base.

satirical print, The Spaniard without a Heart c1645

The Diaboliad, 1777, text by William Combe

ISAAC CRUIKSHANK, A Mansion House Treat, or Smoking Attitudes

J.B.Internari, L'Arte qui supero se Stessa , A Dandy with Muff

J.J.Schubler , Amor vehementer quidem flagrans Augsberg 1729

Jacket Illustration for Frank Reynolds, Humorous Drawing for the Press, Methuen London 1947

Robert Dighton, Death and Life c1760

Louis Boitard, The Military Prophet (foolish and guilty flee an Earthquake)

John Fleet , The Sailor's fleet Wedding Entertainment 1747

? , Strange Monsters have adorned the Stage, c1730

Thomas Sandby , Covent Garden Morning Frolic 1747











NOTES on Scotch Politics as above

Scotch Politics to be read backwards like a Witch's Prayer Tom Bobbin (pseud) Human Passions Delineated... Designed in the Hogarthian Style, very useful for young practitioners in Drawing , Heywood, Manchester, 1773. This larger and more ambitious image was included in a bound set of Bobbin's prints of grotesque faces. Although it makes an obscure point, it offers us a satirical image in the transition period between Hogarth and Gillray. The narrative structure of clues and motifs standing for aspects of the Total Message, is an original and fascinating one. The message is an inriguing one and the visual convention relates to the tradition of the Narrator telling stories while his audience looks at pictures. Here the audience dozes.


B-ke [BURKE] whilst exposing Britain's Ruin, sobs;
Scotch M-n- ld [Macdonald] sleeps, and the N-th [North] the Nation robs
a. here's powder dust to blind a Piercing Eye
b. Here's corks to stop both Mouth and ears by the bye
c Here's Almond oil to grease a tardy Tongue
d This makes white black
e. This changes right to wrong
f. Here's Lethe's water, Patriot Thoughts to drown
g. Here's Britain's magna
h. Here's the rights o the Crown
i. Here's Polar Stars by which a Statesaman steers
k. And here's the Lares of our Mitred Peers
l. here's Wit
m. Here's Learning
n.Politics are here
o. Here's Titles
p. Pensions
q. Grants of thousands clear
r. Here's curious Salve, to Plaister britain's Wounds
s. The Present War
t. Last Peace, which all confounds
u. Here's Silken Pleasure
w. Wilkes' Cutting Road
x. Here's law
y. Here's Gospel
z. here's our Senate's God.



F.G.Klingender, Hogarth and English Caricature, Transatlantic, London 1946

R.Paulson (ed) Hogarth ,exhib.catal. Tate, London, 1972

Draper Hill, Fashionable Contrasts, Phaidon ,London, 1966.

L.P.Curtis, Irishmen in Victorian Caricature , David and Charles Newton Abbot 1971.

E.Gombrich, "The Cartoonist's Armoury", in Meditations on a Hobby Horse , Phaidon London 1978

Matthew Hodgart, Satire, World Univ.Lib., Wedienfield and Nichoilson L 1969.

Aaron Scharf, Open University Course Unit on Hogarth.