Tony Blair: an exhibition and cartoon biography

No apologies for plugging a wonderful exhibition of cartoons of Tony Blair (details below) just because its curator is one of my oldest friends, Alan Mumford, not only the management training guru de ses jours but also an established connoisseur, historian and collector of political cartoons and author-editor of delicious books of cartoons. (Have a look at some of the links in that last sentence!) The Blair cartoons at the current exhibition, tooth-achingly entitled ‘Grin and Blair It’, show in chronological order the progression from the gentle caricatures of a doe-eyed Bambi to the much later savage lampooning of (for example) Martin Rowson and Steve Bell. As Michael White, prince of political commentators, wrote in his Guardian review of the exhibition on 28 October, "It is Bell’s demented larger-than-real left eye which defines Blair, surely nullifying his belief that biometric passports containing all our irises will do any good."


"Grin and Blair it" cartoon exhibition catalogue Posted by Hello

The exhibition catalogue, with its wonderful cover cartoon specially drawn and painted by Steve Bell (above), is remarkable among such publications for (1) including highly readable and informative text which rivals the cartoons themselves for interest, (2) being expertly indexed, a considerable aid to browsing in it, and (3) being eminently affordable. It also admirably illustrates the point made by Alan Mumford at the opening of the exhibition on 27 October that so many of these cartoons are beautifully drawn and painted, worth looking at as works of art in their own right as well as being sharp commentaries on the political personalities and issues which prompt them. Go soon to the exhibition and get a copy of the catalogue while there is still time, just in case it isn’t published later as a stand-alone book. Anyway, many of the cartoons deserve to be seen in the flesh, full size: shrunken reproductions don’t always do them justice.

‘Grin and Blair It’ is at the Mall Gallery, London, a few yards from Trafalgar Square in the Mall, until November 8 and thereafter at the Cartoon Art Trust Museum in Bloomsbury (7-13 The Brunswick Centre, Bernard Street, London WC1N 1AF) until 18 December 2004

Brian
29 October 2004
http://www.barder.com/brian/

6 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    “Don’t Lose it again!� The war-time cartoons of Philip Zec

    3 May – 8 August 2005

    Philip Zec was the greatest and most controversial cartoonist of the Second World War. He was the political cartoonist for the Daily Mirror between 1939 and 1946. This exhibition will include the originals of his two most famous cartoons, ‘The Price of Petrol’, which almost led to the Daily Mirror being banned by Prime Minister Winston Churchill when it was published in March 1942 and his memorable VE Day cartoon “Here it is, Don’t lose it again�. The latter cartoon being the most iconic cartoon of the Twentieth Century. The exhibition will be accompanied by a biography of Zec, written by none other than his brother, Donald, who also worked for the Daily Mirror for many years as a journalist. The book will contain one hundred and fifty war-time Zec cartoons; the vast majority having not been seen since the day they were published in the paper.

    ‘Churchill – IN – Caricature’ Exhibition.

    Winston Churchill: The Most Caricatured Politician of all time!

    26 May – 17 September 2005

    This is the first ever cartoon exhibition to focus exclusively on Sir Winston Churchill’s long and illustrious political career. We will have original work by leading American, Australian, Soviet and British cartoonists, showing their many and varied views of the great war leader who became renowned for his fondness for cigars, siren suits, hats and victory salutes. Stubborn, irascible, incisive and inspirational, Churchill’s character and achievements live again through the medium of these vivid contemporary original drawings. A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition. The Exhibition includes over 60 original cartoons including many of the most famous and contentious ones by the likes of David Low, Boris Efimov, Sidney Strube, Leslie Illingworth.

    A summary of some of the twentieth century’s most important events as experienced and influenced by one of its most remarkable characters.

    ‘Churchill – IN – Caricature’ is sponsored by Sotheran’s of Sackville Street

    The Political Cartoon Gallery at 32 Store Street, London WC1E 7BS is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5.30pm and on Saturdays between 11am – 5.30pm. (Nearest underground Station Goodge Street Station {Northern Line}) Phone Dr Tim Benson on 020 7580 1114 or 07973 622371 for further details or email him at info@politicalcartoon.co.uk

  2. The Political Cartoon Gallery’s Churchill in caricature exhibition was opened by Churchill’s daughter Lady Mary Soames on 25 May and runs until 8 September 2005.

    This is the first ever exhibition of original cartoons to focus exclusively on Sir Winston Churchill. It features approximately seventy cartoons by thirty five artists and is a summary of some the twentieth century’s most important events as experienced and influenced by one of its most remarkable characters.

    As well as work by leading British cartoonists such as Low, Vicky, Zec and Illingworth, there are drawings by American, Spanish, Australian and Soviet cartoonists showing their many and varied views of the great war leader who became renowned for his fondness for cigars and victory salutes. Stubborn, irascible, incisive and inspirational, Churchill’s character and achievements live again through the medium of these vivid drawings.

    The Political Cartoon Gallery at 32 Store Street, London WC1E 7BS is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5.30pm and on Saturdays between 11.30am – 5.30pm. (Nearest underground Station Goodge Street Station {Northern Line}) Phone Dr Tim Benson on 020 7580 1114 or 07973 622371 for further details or email him at info@politicalcartoon.co.uk

    The Political Cartoon Gallery is the world’s only centre dedicated to political caricature. At the Gallery you will find the country’s only ‘Cartoon Café’, where today’s leading cartoonists have produced a unique mural featuring their best-known political creations. The Gallery also sells original artwork by leading cartoonists, both past and present, as well as a range of exciting cartoon ephemera.

  3. London Laughs!

    15 September to 10 November 2005. Sponsored by the London Communications Agency

    This Exhibition consists of original cartoons, featuring either London landmarks or issues affecting London, from the likes of James Gillray through to today’s leading cartoonists like Steve Bell, Dave Brown, Martin Rowson and Peter Brookes. On view, for example, will be Sir David Low’s view of Covent Garden, Strube’s take of Eros and Bert Thomas’s perspective on Trafalgar Square, alongside work by contemporary cartoonists featuring the Millennium Dome, the new Mayor’s headquarters aptly described as the ‘testicle’ and, of course, the den of all inequity, the Houses of Parliament. Cartoons on the events of 7 July, including a London bus which was blown up within hearing distance of the Political Cartoon Gallery, will also be on show in order to draw comparisons with former attacks on London by the Luftwaffe and the IRA.

    The Political Cartoon Gallery, 32 Store Street, London WC1E 7BS, is open Monday to Friday 10.30am – 5.30pm and on Saturdays between 11.30am – 5.30pm. Phone Dr Tim Benson on 020 7580 1114 for further details or images email him at info@politicalcartoon.co.uk

  4. Tim Benson says:

    MISUNDERESTIMATING PRESIDENT BUSH THROUGH CARTOONS 25 January – 18 March 2005 Political Cartoon Gallery

    “They misunderestimate me.” George W. Bush 2000

    Cartoonists highlight for us the compatibility between a man
    who was Governor of Texas, approved 152 executions, with the President who has
    taken the United States into two wars. They can interpret
    Bush’s defence about his early life “I was young and irresponsible”, by
    portraying him as older but still irresponsible, the tool of Cheney and
    Rumsfeld. They compare the arrogance of his statement aboard a US aircraft carrier “Mission
    Accomplished” with continuing reality in Iraq.

    All cartoonists use “tabs of identity – for Bush they
    exaggerate features like his eyes, eyebrows, nostrils and his down turned mouth
    – is it a half smile or a sneer? British cartoonists have gone much further in
    savaging this President by portraying him as an uncaring warmonger, or turning
    him into an animal. Steve Bell originally showed him as a turkey, but then
    transformed him into a monkey – a representation unlikely to be accepted in the
    United States courts as “rhetorical hyperbole”.

    This exhibition largely represents the British point of
    view, focusing on international aspects of Bush – oil, Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel. American cartoonists add domestic
    issues – the spendthrift conservative, faith based social initiates. To us
    Blair’s relationship with Bush is significant – Blair as a poodle. To American
    cartoonists Blair scarcely exists in a relationship with Bush. Whereas British
    cartoonists are prepared to mock Blair’s religiosity, this is almost entirely
    absent in their cartoons of Bush – and is absent from the work of American
    cartoonists.

    The Political Cartoon Gallery, 32 Store Street, London WC1E 7BS, is open Monday to Friday 9.30am –
    5.30pm
    and on Saturdays between 11.30am – 5.30pm. Phone Dr Tim Benson on 020 7580
    1114 for further details or images email him at info@politicalcartoon.co.uk

    Brian writes:  These ‘comments’ are of course really a misuse of the comment facility to advertise cartoon exhibitions.  I am tempted to delete them as they appear.  But as it’s a good cause and Dr Mumford is a good mate, I’ll leave them, provided that they don’t appear too frequently… 

  5. Tim Benson says:

    THE
    MAN WHO HATED POOH!

    THE POLITICAL CARTOONS OF E H SHEPARD
    23 March – 21 May 2006. In association with the Cartoon Study Centre,
    University of Kent and Punch

    E H
    Shepard’s biggest regret in life was agreeing to illustrate Winnie the Pooh for
    A A Milne as it resulted in all his other work during his lifetime being
    completely overshadowed. Even though drawing Winnie the Pooh was very much a
    sideline for Shepard, he is only remembered today as the man who drew Pooh. In
    fact, from 1921 until 1952, he was primarily Punch
    magazine’s leading political cartoonist alongside Sir Bernard Partridge. This
    exhibition on E H Shepard is the first to completely ignore Winnie the Pooh and
    focus exclusively on his political cartoons for Punch. The
    exhibition will consist of fifty of his original cartoons which were published
    in Punch from
    1933 up until his dismissal by the then Editor, Malcolm Muggeridge, in the early
    1950s. To be opened at the Political Cartoon Gallery by Michael Winner on 22
    March.
    The
    Political Cartoon Gallery, 32 Store
    Street, London WC1E
    7BS, is open Monday to Friday 9.30am –
    5.30pm and on Saturdays between 11.30am
    – 5.30pm. Phone Dr Tim Benson on 020 7580 1114 for further
    details or images email him at info@politicalcartoon.co.uk

  6. Did Cowards Flinch? A cartoon history of the Labour Party 1906 – 2006

    Political Cartoon Gallery, 32 Store Street, London WC1E 7BS

    12 October – 24 December 2006

    This exhibition covers the highlights – and the lowlights – of the history of the Labour Party. This fascinating collection of original cartoons by leading cartoonists both past and present enables visitors not only to see the changing depictions of issues and personalities, but also brings out common features in the changing focus of the Labour Party both in opposition and in government.  On show will be original work by cartoonists from yesteryear such as Francis Carruthers Gould, Will Dyson, David Low, Vicky, JAK, Strube and Illingworth to today’s greats such as Peter Brookes, Steve Bell, Dave Brown, MAC, Nicholas Garland, Steadman and Scarfe

    The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated hardback catalogue with a foreword by Lord Kinnock.

    The exhibition will be opened by the Rt. Hon. Dennis Skinner MP on 14 October 2006

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