Archive for the ‘cartoons’ Category

Caricatures in the Great War

October 27, 2014
Kitchener of Khartoum - caricature by Will Scott

‘K of K’ – Kitchener of Khartoum – caricature by Will Scott on the cover of Drawing magazine in February 1916

Will Scott was a new name to me when I saw this issue of Drawing magazine.  But this is a great caricature of a ship-like Kitchener, the War Lord who laid the foundations for Britain’s victory in the Great War with his call for volunteers.

The cover refers to an article by Scott about political satire, in which he is scathing in his views on British cartoons:

One cannot seriously suppose here is anyone who is really impressed by a British cartoon, or that there would be a single sigh of regret if our cartoonists ceased business tomorrow … We have not a single satirical journal worthy of the name.

Scott is a forgotten name now, but he came to fame, though not as cartoonist or art critic. He turned to writing short stories for magazines and newspapers such as the Passing Show and Daily Express. His detective novels and stage plays were made into films in the 1930s and his The Cherrys series for children was popular right into the late 1960s. Scott is credited with more than 2,000 short stories, claimed as a record for the UK during his lifetime.

Back in 1916, the black and white artists at Punch and other titles must have been spitting at his remarks, though Scott goes on to credit the Tatler‘s HM Bateman – with his ‘exquisite sense of “silly”‘ and Will Dyson at the Daily Herald with breaking the mould. The website dedicated to Bateman describes how he ‘went mad on paper’ after suffering a breakdown:

Until this time conventional cartoons had been illustrated jokes – drawings with a few lines of text or dialogue underneath. Take away the dialogue and the drawing becomes meaningless, the joke lay in the words. From 1909 onwards Bateman drew no more illustrated jokes and so changed profoundly the art of the cartoon, invested it with a new freedom of line and expression. The drawing became funny in itself, self-explanatory. He made emotion the subject of his cartoons and the characters became actors expressing feeling, rather than illustrations to an idea.

The Cartoon Museum is organising an exhibition of his work later this year: H.M. Bateman: The Man Who Went Mad On Paper.

The Australian Dictionary of Biography credits Dyson’s work on the Daily Herald with changing Britain’s attitude towards the working man and capitalism:

Dyson hacked into the pomposity and humbug of pre-war England, championing the working man boldly and without reserve. ‘In British cartooning Before Dyson’, his friend Vance Palmer wrote, ‘the working man had been depicted as a pathetic figure, a depressed person lacking any human dignity. Will Dyson drew him young, militant, an image of hope with fist up-raised’… He represented Capital, Finance and Power as a gross figure of large paunch, top hat, spats and a cigar, the image of greed in a world of ignoble advantages. Hackneyed now, the symbol was a notable creation in its day.

An article in a previous issue also touches on the topic of caricature. In ‘Cartoons and the War’ David Wilson writes:

Tirpitz’s whiskers are today to the public what Gladstone’s collars were to an earlier generation. Harry Furness, it would seem, invented the famous white wings, but in time the collars came to signify, in a kind of artists’ shorthand, Gladstone himself.

Drawing launched in 1915 as ‘A paper devoted to art as a national asset, entirely owned, edited and managed by professional artists and designers.’ Its message to advertisers expands on the philosophy:

The proprietors of Drawing are making a serious attempt to raise the standard of Press Advertising. They believe that advertisements should embellish a magazine, that is, be of a kind which readers will admire instead of regard – as is usually the case – as an objectionable feature. Only those which come up to a certain artistic standard will be accepted by Drawing. Nothing ugly or common will be inserted. Those which consist mainly of an illustration and show originality are preferred. If you have nothing suitable of your own, our artists will design a distinctive advertisement for you, under the supervision of experts. NB. We refuse advertisement so goods not actually manufactured in Great Britain’

The editor was George Montague Ellwood (1875-1955), one of the founding members of the Guild of Craftsmen. He held the post until 1924 and during that time expanded the coverage and title to become Drawing and Design. He wrote several books, including English Furniture and Decoration, 1680-1800.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When a woman ruled the roost for Punch ad sales

October 14, 2014

 

Marion Jean Lyon was hard of advertising sales for Punch in 1923

Marion Jean Lyon was head of advertising sales for Punch in 1923 ((c) magforum.com)

Punch advertising manager Marion Jean Lyon  in 1923

Marion Jean Lyon in 1923 (Magforum.com)

The above advert for Punch from the autumn of 1923 describes the veteran weekly as ‘the foremost humorous journal in the world’. No small claim, and backing it up from the weekly’s Bouverie Street offices just off Fleet St was advertising manager Marion Jean Lyon.

She was one of the most successful people in the history of advertising sales, and, as head of sales for Punch, she was able to boast that all the advertising space was sold until the next year. Lyon held the post at Punch, which was a national institution, until she died in 1940. She was one of many women working in the industry in such roles, alongside women advertising managers at Everywoman, Woman and Housewife.

Lyon’s success was noted in another weekly, the Spectator (21 October 1922, p37):

A remarkable illustration of the ever-increasing part women are playing in business life is afforded by the appointment of Miss Marion Jean Lyon, a Scotswoman who came to London 16 years ago, to the position of advertising manager of Punch. Joining the office staff of Punch 12 years ago, Miss Lyon gradually worked her way upwards till she was made assistant to the late advertising manager, Mr Roy Somervell. She has recently been appointed to the vacant position, to the great satisfaction of all those who had experience of her business ability. The position of advertising manager of Punch is one of the most important and highly paid in Fleet Street and it is interesting to find that a woman has won it.

The year 1923 was a big one for Lyon, because she married Leonard Raven-Hill, who had joined Punch in 1901 and been second cartoonist to Sir Bernard Partridge since 1910. Not only that, she helped found, and became first president of, the Women’s Advertising Club of London in 1923. The WACL is still going today.

There is an intriguing symbol used in the advert – a clockwise swastika, below the words ‘goodwill throughout the civilized world’. Ten years later the symbol would become associated with the Nazis, but it is one of the world’s oldest symbols and was, for example, regarded as a a good luck totem by early aviators.

swastika symbol

Notice the swastika symbol below the text

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kubrick’s 2001 Space Odyssey in Town magazine

October 1, 2014
Opening of 5-page article on the set of 2001: A Space Odyssey with sketches by Clive Arrowsmith in Town magazine

Opening of 5-page article on the set of 2001: A Space Odyssey with sketches by Clive Arrowsmith in Town magazine

Clancy Sigal wrote the words and Clive Arrowsmith did these sketches on the set of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey for the July 1966 issue of men’s magazine Town.

This was a special film issue, with articles about Len Deighton’s Funeral in Berlin, the girls of Casino Royale, Bryan Forbes (who had already directed Whistle Down the Wind and written the script for King Rat and would go on to direct The Stepford Wives in 1975) and beach fashion spreads with the cast of Robert Aldrich’s  The Dirty Dozen.

The 5-page article, ‘2001: An informal diary of an infernal machine’, was written two years before the film’s release. The article opens with a whole page sketch showing an image of Saturn behind Dr Heywood R. Floyd (William Sylvester), a detail that is changed in the actual film, where the Discovery spaceship follows the monolith’s radio signal to Jupiter.

Sigal, a US novelist and screenwriter, points to a problem that still bedevils people today after seeing the film:

Arthur Clarke is going up the pole, trying to meet with Kubrick to put the end together. Kubrick is finishing the picture and, probably, wondering how to end it.

First spread of the Town magazine article shows one of the astronauts and the maintenance vehicle

First spread of the Town magazine article shows one of the astronauts and the maintenance vehicle (the right side of the page was cut off in the scanner)

Arthur C. Clarke – one of the best and most prolific of the SF writers who lives in Ceylon, where he has business interests, according to the text – was, of course, trying to finish his book.

Sigal speculates about an outcome similar to the ‘benign being that blessed’ Clarke’s Childhood’s End, though ‘it could turn out to be the hydrogen bomb in a rubber mask, like in (Madame Odinga Oginga from Outer Space) Sam Katzman’. He was prophetic on another point:

HAL may yet turn out to be the most interesting actor in the story.

Final spread of the Town article shows a sketch of the frozen scientists that is similar to a sketch shown to HAL in 2001

Final spread of the Town article shows a sketch of the frozen scientists that is similar to a sketch shown to HAL in 2001

In the film, one of the Discovery’s two crew members, David Bowman (played by Keir Dullea), is seen making sketches of the scientists in suspended animation, which he shows to HAL.

One of the sketches is similar to Arrowsmith’s at the bottom of this spread.

Clive Arrowsmith did illustrations for other issues of Town and is probably the famed photographer, who worked as a graphic designer for television after leaving art school before taking to the camera.

The article makes no mention of Arrowsmith having been commissioned by Kubrick to work on the film. So the question is: which came first? Did Town commission the article and then Kubrick take up the sketch idea, or had Kubrick commissioned Arrrowsmith to do the sketches and the latter took the article idea to Town?

In 2001, Kubrick shows one of the astronauts making sketches of the scientists in suspended animation

In 2001, Kubrick shows one of the astronauts making sketches of the scientists in suspended animation

Detail of Clive Arrowsmith sketch in Town magazine - compare it with the still from 2001 below

Detail of Clive Arrowsmith sketch in Town magazine – compare it with the still from 2001 above

One of the Discovery astronauts shows a sketch to HAL in a scene from 2001

Through HAL’s distorting camera: Dave Bowman, one of the Discovery astronauts, shows one of his sketches to the ship’s computer in a scene from 2001

Blighty for the troops in the Great War

August 22, 2014
'Water Babies' Christmas 1919 issue of Blighty magazine

‘Water Babies’ Christmas 1919 issue of Blighty, a free magazine for Britain’s armed forces

This cover for the Christmas 1919 issue of Blighty magazine looks to have been inspired by Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies, which was already regarded as a classic – and had been published in two editions since the start of the First World War. Like so many books, Kingsley’s was first published as a serial in Macmillan’s Magazine (1862-63).

Among the illustrators for the various editions of the book were Noel Paton (first book edition of 1863), Linley Sambourne (1885), Warwick Goble (1909), W. Heath Robinson (1915) and Jessie Willcox Smith (1916), all of whom were established magazine illustrators. The artwork on the cover here was not credited.

Blighty magazine was an inspired idea and was produced solely for Britain’s fighting forces under the control of the Committee of Blighty from 40 Fleet Street. It was ‘a budget of humour from home’ sent free to the forces with a publishing strategy loosely based on the popular humorous titles of the day such as Punch and London Opinion. Many of their contributors drew or wrote for issues, but the magazine also encouraged contributions from men fighting at the front.

It was funded by advertising along with a special enlarged issue with a colour cover produced for sale at a shilling each Christmas and summer. The 1916 Christmas issue stated: ‘Every copy sold sends three to the trenches.’ This Xmas Home Number came out after the war had ended, of course, and makes no mention of free copies for the troops, because it had been turned into a commercial operation. Though still published from the same Fleet St address, it was now run by The Blighty Publishing and printing had been switched from Walbrook & Co in Whitefriars to George Berridge & Co in Upper Thames St.

A half page at the back of the magazine encourages people to buy a magazine that was ‘favourite reading’ for the armed services. The copy reads:

‘The paper is now on sale to the public. It is full of pictures and stories by the best humorous artists and writers, amongst whom are many men who sent their first contributions from the mud of Flanders, the sands of Mesopotamia, or the stormy waters of the North Sea … It was sent to you in the trenches. Now you can buy it at the shops and bookstalls. All Old Service Readers should be Civilian Readers now.’

Among the illustrators were Punch artist Ricardo Brook, Glossop, Dyke White, US ‘Gibson Girl’ artist C. Dana Gibson, Horace Gaffron (who had fought with the Gordon Highlanders and drew Good Housekeeping covers in the 1930s) and Arthur Ferrier (one of the most popular cartoonists of the 1940s and 50s).

Yet the strategy did not work, and the title closed within a year. However, Blighty was resurrected for the Second World War, again with official support as a free weekly for the troops. When hostilities ended, it was again turned into a men’s humorous weekly, this time successfully. It was rebranded as Parade in 1960 but collapsed as both advertising and readership were lost from all the weeklies to television and Sunday supplements, and became a top-shelf title.

 

AA Milne, Alfred Leete and St Bride’s Berlud mystery

August 18, 2014
Alfred Leete's blood-stained staircase at St Bride's Printing Library

Berlud! Alfred Leete and the curious case of the blood-stained staircase at St Bride’s Printing Library. Is it a joke based on an early play by Winnie the Pooh author AA Milne?

St Bride’s Printing Library has done a blog item – The curious case of the blood-stained staircase – about this Alfred Leete artwork they’ve discovered. They write:

‘… a blood-stained staircase in front of a dark green door with eyes peering through the letter box. Elsewhere in the image, a policeman stares in shock, or perhaps horror at the staircase. Adding confusion to possible interpretations is the paint can sitting at the bottom right corner of the door, which begs the question as to whether it is really blood at all. The word Berlud! is printed at the top of the frame’

There’s another curious detail – the copper’s bloodless, claw-like hands. Such a contrast against the ruddy face. They look like the hands of the vampire in Nosferatu, the 1922 German horror film. The word Berlud dates to June 1922 – it was in the title of an early play by AA Milne, Berlud, Unlimited. Also in April that year, the first murder mystery by the man who would go on to write Winnie the Pooh had been published, The Red House Mystery. It’s certainly possible the two men knew each other – in 1906 Milne was made assistant editor on Punch, which published Leete’s cartoons (though his Kitchener ‘Your Country Needs You’ poster was first published as a 1914 cover for a Punch rival, London Opinion). They were the same age and both served in the first world war.

I suspect this wasn’t a poster but the artwork for a whole page illustration of the sort Leete did for The Tatler. It could well have been a cartoon for the theatre pages of the society weekly. The Red House Mystery sold well and Milne was certainly making a name for himself with the literary public.

The letterbox and its peering eyes brought to mind the advertising flyer below from 1902. This letterpress flyer for the weekly Pictorial Magazine used spot colour to promote its latest serial, ‘The House with the Scarlet Knocker’, and carried an excerpt from the tale on the back. Could this 1902 image have sparked Alfred Leete’s imagination?

A letterpress flyer for the latest serial in Pictorial Magazine - could this 1902 image have sparked Alfred Leete's imagination?

A letterpress flyer for the latest serial in Pictorial Magazine – could this 1902 image have sparked Alfred Leete’s imagination?

 

 

 

 

Ravages of War in Kaiser Wilhelm’s face

July 15, 2014

Germany’s leader, Kaiser Wilhelm - The Ravager

Germany’s leader, Kaiser Wilhelm, with his moustache and military uniform, at the start of World War I. He is described as ‘The Ravager’

This postcard depicts Germany’s leader, Kaiser Wilhelm, with his flamboyant moustache and military uniform, at the start of World War I. He is described as ‘The Ravager’ and there appearss to be a tear falling from the right eye. It is when the card is turned upside down that ‘The Ravages of War’ he was responsible for are made clear.

The postcard turned upside down reveals the 'Ravages of War'

The postcard turned upside down reveals the ‘Ravages of War’ with the moustache becoming an imperial eagle

His nose and moustache become an eagle with a crown above its head – the German imperial symbol – atop a marble column. The falling tear has become a lion – a symbol for Britain – which is trying to climb the column to reach the eagle. And the lower eyelashes now spell out the names of the first Belgian cities that fell to the Germans – Liège and Namur.

The eyelashes spell out  Liège and Namur

The eyelashes spell out the names of the first Belgian cities that fell to the Germans – Liège and Namur

Both cities had been ringed with forts by 1892 and the Battle for Liège was the first engagement of the war. It began on 5 August 1914 and lasted until 16 August when the last fort surrendered. The attack on Belgium drew the British into the war. German troops then turned their attention to the forts around Namur on 20 August, bombarding them with heavy artillery, including the massive Big Bertha (a 420mm siege howitzer). Belgian forces withdrew and the city was evacuated and left to the attackers on 23 August. Magazines at the time such Punch referred to the Belgiums as steadfast in standing up to the Germans but ultimately being flattened by its might – ‘plucky little Belgium‘.

So the card was probably produced in the autumn of 1914. Like Alfred Leete’s famous Your Country Needs You cover from London Opinion, it was a visceral reaction to the war.

Turning back to the card, the detail on the Kaiser’s tunic portrays Belgian troops in front of a church facing cannon fire. One side of the collar depicts a German soldier bayoneting a mother in front of her child. The other side shows a line of troops firing on a fleeing family. The chinstrap depicts three lions.

The helmet shows two French armies with a smaller British force. The helmet’s ‘dome’ turns into howitzers firing at a dove that is falling from the sky, with an explosion to one side and a burning house on the other.

Deatail of moustache as imperial eagle

The nose and moustache become a German imperial eagle on a column, which a British lion is trying to climb. Part of the helmet shows British and French troops

The card was issued as part of the ‘Dainty’ series (possibly from Britain’s first mass-producer of postcards, E.T.W. Dennis) and has an unclear signature at the bottom right: possibly Victor Edmunds Pickup.

Postcard was issued as part of the ‘Dainty’ series (probably from Britain’s first mass-producer of postcards, E.T.W. Dennis) and has an unclear signature at the bottom right: possibly Victor Edmunds Pickup

Postcard was issued as part of the ‘Dainty’ series (possibly from Britain’s first big postcard printer, E.T.W. Dennis) and has a signature at the bottom right: possibly Victor Edmunds Pickup

Most British magazines and postcards did not show out-and-out brutality, instead hinting at illegal actions with slogans such as ‘Remember Belgium’ but French magazines certainly did.

Back of the Kaiser Ravages of War postcard with the 'Dainty series' label

Back of the Kaiser Ravages of War postcard with the ‘Dainty’ series label on the left

Kitchener – this is not a poster!

May 29, 2014
Daily Mail's Event magazine with its Ralph Steadman article

Daily Mail’s Event magazine with its Ralph Steadman article that mistakenly identifies a poster as the original London Opinion cover

Whatever the faults of the Daily Mail, it exhibits a sense of history in the logo it carries on its ‘answers to readers questions’ page. The logo is based on the original title for the magazine that founded the Daily Mail dynasty back in 1888: Answers to Correspondents on Every Subject under the Sun, founded by Alfred Harmsworth.

Logo from the present-day Daily Mail - based on a magazine title from the 1880s

Logo from the present-day Daily Mail – based on a magazine title from the 1880s

As Answers, this became a massive success, building on the pioneering George Newnes’s Tit-Bits, for which Harmsworth had worked, to help establish British magazines as the first truly mass media. Answers claimed to answer questions sent in by readers directly by post, and those of general interest were published. Answers was a such a success that it was the foundation of a magazine and newspaper empire, the likes of which the world had never seen. Alfred and his brother Harold went on to found both the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror, then buy up both the Sunday Observer and the Times and become lords Northcliffe and Rothermere. Alongside the newspapers, the Harmsworth’s Amalgamated Press (later Fleetway) became the largest periodical publishing empire in the world. Viscount Rothermere rules the roost at today’s descendant, the Daily Mail & General Trust.

London Opinion 1914

The original magazine cover – this is NOT a poster!

So it’s no surprise that the paper is running a series to mark World War One, including an 80-page souvenir issue of its listings section, Event. Pride of place in the May 4 edition was a feature by the brilliant Ralph Steadman, whose father fought in that war and was injured three times. Steadman interprets Alfred Leete’s famous Kitchener image and the article make reference  to its original appearance as a London Opinion cover – but then shows one of the early London Opinion posters in the centre of the spread rather than the magazine cover!

The error adds to half a century of no less an august body than the Imperial War Museum (which was given the artwork by Leete) getting it wrong; Picture Post using the artwork in 1940 and again referring to it only a poster; and biographers such as  Philip Magnus adding to the confusion. Even the British Library captions the cover as a poster in an article by the historian Professor David Welch. To cap it all, the Royal Mint makes no reference to Leete even as it copies his artwork for a commemorative coin!

The full story of Alfred Leete’s cover illustration for London Opinion is told in the book, The Amazing Kitchener Poster.

Louis Wain – cats, frogs and his sister

May 27, 2014
Felecie Wain illustration from Home Notes - Louis Wain's mother

Anthropomorphised frogs from Home Notes by Felecie Wain – Louis Wain’s sister

Louis Wain became famous to Victorians for his humanlike – anthropomorphised – animal drawings, particularly cats, which were widely published, as magazine illustrations, books and cards. He was ‘the man who drew cats’. The image here is from a children’s page in C. Arthur Pearson’s popular women’s weekly Home Notes in 1899, at a time when the prodigious Wain contributed at least a drawing an issue to this magazine alone. However, it is signed ‘Felecie Wain’, Louis Wain’s sister, who was also known as ‘Felice’.

Frog tableaux were popular at the time and Dickens had a small statue of sword-fighting frogs on his desk at his Gad’s Hill home when he died.

According to a Margate newsletter, Wain moved to the neighbouring seaside town of Westgate in 1894 with his four sisters and mother at the suggestion of Sir William Ingram, who lived there and owned Illustrated London News (founded by his father in 1842). Wain’s wife had recently died and Ingram also owned Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, where Wain had worked since 1882. The newsletter shows photographs of Wain’s homes and the graves of both his mother and Felecie.

The image below is a drunken Wain cat held by the V&A Museum.

Louis Wain cat out on the razzle

Louis Wain’s ‘Hallo there! We won’t go home till morning’ showing a cat out on the razzle

Tom Browne: every dot counts

April 21, 2014
browne_golferfull500

RULES AND ETIQUETTE OF GOLF: A ball lying in the fork of a tree must be played, or the player will lose a stroke – Tom Browne cartoon for the Tatler

Tom Browne was one of the best black and white artists working the the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. He went out to work at the age of 11 as an errand boy in Nottingham and became apprentice to a lithographic printer where he began to do illustration jobs on the side.

At the age of 21, he moved to Fleet Street and established his reputation with the Weary Willie and Tired Tim cartoon for Harmsworth’s Illustrated Chips from May 1896. His fat and thin tramps carried on into the 1950s (in the hands of other illustrators) and no doubt had a hand in triggering later generations of tramp pairings, such as Laurel & Hardy (first film together in 1921), Samuel Beckett’s Vladimir and Estragon in Waiting for Godot (1953) and television’s Bootsie and Snudge (1963).

It’s the details in Browne’s work that count and took him out of cheap comics into the society weeklies such as Punch and Tatler and made him such a hit in the US, in papers such as the New York Times. The Tatler cartoon here is a classic example.

Consider the faces on the dynamic duo hauling up the tubby golfer: just a couple of dots for eyes and a few lines for the features. Yet, look closely and you can immediately tell which way they are looking – one at the golfer and the other at the reader.

Truly, every dot counts.

Tom Browne drawing detail

Tom Browne’s drawing show incredible attention to detail; he could do so much with so little

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Collectors come out for £2,700 Oz on eBay

March 31, 2014

 

Oz magazine first issue

Oz magazine first issue January 1967

Underground magazine Oz is one of the most collectable titles – and proved the point in March when half-a-dozen bidders took their offers up from the £999 starting price to £2,728 in just nine bids. The set included all 48 issues ‘in exceptional condition’ of a magazine that sparked the 1972 Oz trial and introduced Felix Dennis to the magazine world.

A copy of the Oz first issue on its own went for £895 – well above the £650 one sold for back in 2007. Several others issues fetched up to £220.

Another title that attracts collectors is trendy cycling title Rouleur, with a set of the first 43 issues selling for £1000 as a buy-it-now.

Part works aren’t usually big sellers but a James Bond collection with models cars fetched £691. Buying it new would have cost £7.99 x 132, more than £1000.

 

Strand magazine from April 1904 with Sherlock Holmes

Strand magazine from April 1904 with Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes in the Strand is a long-standing attraction for collectors and a set of the first seven volumes of the magazine fetched £545. Mind you, unbound copies fetch far more, and this single issue of the April 1904 Strand with a Holmes story fetched £443.

The first 50 issues of the Face were priced at £500 and the seller took an undisclosed offer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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