Tag Archives: political cartoons

Angels One Five Descend on Aleppo

Today we have a cartoon referencing a cartoon.

Saturday 17th December. Guardian– Martin Rowson/ David Low



David Low, 1940 – Indian ink and black chalk, with erasures in body colour , (38.5cm x 49.5cm). The Tate Collection.

David Low’s cartoon was published in the Evening Standard ,10th June 1940. It was a reference to the German occupation of the Low Countries in the Summer of 1940. Himmler, carrying a book entitled ‘Gestapo Death List’ is accompanied by two other members of the SS carrying a whip and a truncheon.


In Martin Rowsons reinterpretation of the work, Obama is asking Putin “What the hell have you done?” (Putin holding the reins on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and, for now just out of the picture, President Elect Donald Trump)  This remark seems to be both in reference  to the complicity in bombing civilians and hospitals in Aleppo with reports of women and children being massacred and also referencing reports coming from the the CIA and FBI that Putin was also directly responsible for interfering in the presidential election with the goal of supporting Republican candidate Donald Trump.

President Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry rebuked the Russian and Iranian backed Syrian regime for carrying out “nothing short of a massacre” in Aleppo, as tens of thousands of civilians were held in the recent siege of the rebel stronghold. Reports of women and children being executed in the streets came out of the beleagured city by verifiable sources.

Mr Kerry called for an “immediate, verifiable, and durable cessation of hostilities” and urged both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russian leaders to participate in direct negotiations with the United Nations in Geneva.

“There is absolutely no justification whatsoever for the indiscriminate and savage brutality against civilians shows by the regime and by its Russian and Iranian allies over the past few weeks and, indeed, over the past five years,” he said at a press briefing.

President Barack Obama is also promising that the U.S. will retaliate against Russia for its suspected meddling in America’s election process.

As the White House grew more bullish about suggesting President Vladimir Putin was personally involved, Obama said he’d spoken directly to Putin about his concerns about Russian meddling. He said whenever a foreign government tries to interfere in U.S. elections, the nation must take action “and we will at a time and place of our own choosing.”

Chris Walker.


Bojo of Arabia

The  controversy over Boris Johnson’s diplomatic gaffe at the Saudis expense rumbles on with people saying that he is not the right person to be Foreign Secretary. Others, however, argue that he is just saying what everyone else is thinking. But No. 10 Downing Street continue to distance themselves from his utterances saying he is not speaking for the Government. Should be an interesting weekend as Bojo is off to the Middle East.

Saturday 10th  December. The Independent – Dave Brown/John Edwin Noble


I think it is obvious what Mr. Brown’s interpretation of the situation is. Bojo being shat on from the camel that represents Theresa May whilst she carries King Salman of Saudi Arabia off – he  eagerly clutching a British made missile.

John Edwin Noble was not an artist I had previously been familiar with. After studying to be an artist he became an instructor at Calderon’s School of Animal Painting and a lecturer on animal drawing and anatomy at the Central and Camberwell Schools of Arts and Crafts. He served as a sergeant in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps during World War I, where he was employed as an official war artist, depicting horses and mules in charcoal and watercolour. He seems to have worked exclusively as an animal artist and his characteristically emphatic outline gives his work a strongly decorative quality and the artwork that the above cartoon is based on is a book illusratration.



John Edwin Noble, 1919 – Illustration from ‘Helpers Without Hands’ by Gladys Davidson

We shall see how this pans out!

Chris Walker.

Plum scary

Thursday 8th December.  The Spectator  – Peter Brookes/ James Gillray

The Spectator Christmas special cover is re-presenting one of James Gillray’s most famous satires dealing with the Napoleonic wars.


The Spectators Christmas Special Front Cover – Trump and Putin carve up the World

In the original, Prime Minister William Pitt sits on the left of the picture opposite Napoleon Bonaparte, both of who are slicing up the globe in a bid to gain a larger portion. The intention of the piece is simple, it is showing the avaricious pursuit of international dominance by both the French and British governments.

The spectator have just replaced Pitt with Trump and Boneparte with Putin to show the political ambitions of the two current most powerful men in the world.


James Gillray –  published by Hannah Humphrey 26 February 1805 – hand-coloured etching, 261mm x 362mm, National Portrait Gallery’

Scary times.

Chris Walker.

OMG – Oh! May! God!

Today I post Martin Rowson’s re-intereptation of Michelangelo’s iconic image of “The Creation of Adam” on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel – with a few comments on the story that inspired the work.

Wednesday 30th November. Tribune (Friday) – Martin Rowson/ Michelangelo


Theresa May has described how her faith in God makes her convinced she is “doing the right thing” as Prime Minister.

This week Theresa May gave one of her (thankfully) rare interviews to the Sunday Times. The above art referencing cartoon is Martin Rowson’s inimitable take on her claim that her faith in God is her driving force.

The comments were made as Ms May admitted to The Sunday Times that it was the “hugely challenging” task of Brexit which left her with little time for sleep.

The Christian Post goes further and says “May added that her faith in God shows her she’s “doing the right thing” as the U.K.’s leader, and is how she copes with what she called the “hugely challenging” task of negotiating Brexit.

Can anyone imagine how the Press, and a great deal of the public, would react if Sadiq Khan said he was going to ask Allah where to put London’s new runway?

To be fair to Theresa May, she could have been misquoted. Maybe the reporter said “Just what is the plan for Brexit?” and she said, “God knows”.



Michelangelo, c.1512, Fresco, 280cm x 570cm, Sistine Chapel ceiling, The Vatican.

Well done Martin, I think you’ve caught the spirit.

Chris Walker.

The Great Day of their Wrath (at those pesky experts)

 Today I post Dave Brown’s re-intereptation of English Romantic painter, John Martin’s “The Great Day of His Wrath” with an overview of the story it represents.

Saturday 26th November. The Independent – Dave Brown/John Martin


It’s been a week where Chancellor Philip Hammond’s post-Brexit Autumn Statement was delivered to the nation. In it he confirmed he was abandoning plans to achieve a budget surplus by the end of the decade because the country is set to take a hit of almost £60 billion over the coming five years as a result of the referendum vote to leave the European Union.

  • Government finances forecast to be £122bn worse off in the period until 2021 than forecast in March’s Budget

  • Debt will rise from 84.2% of GDP last year to 87.3% this year, peaking at 90.2% in 2017-18

  • Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts borrowing of £68.2bn this year, then £59bn in 2017-18, £46.5bn in 2018-19, £21.9bn in 2019-20 and £20.7bn in 2020-21

  • Public spending this year to be 40% of GDP – down from 45% in 2010

  • OBR growth forecast upgraded to 2.1% in 2016 – from 2.0% – then downgraded to 1.4% in 2017, from 2.2%

  • Forecast growth of 1.7% in 2018, 2.1% in 2019 and 2020 and 2% in 2021.

  • Government no longer seeking a budget surplus in 2019-20 – committed to returning public finances to balance “as soon as practicable”

The Institute of Fiscal Studies and the Government’s own appointed Office of Budget Responsibility warned of tough times ahead and on the issue of poor wage growth, the IFS director, Paul Johnson said: “On these projections real wages will, remarkably, still be below their 2008 levels in 2021. One cannot stress enough how dreadful that is – more than a decade without real earnings growth. We have certainly not seen a period remotely like it in the last 70 years.”

He said the OBR’s forecasts, which predicted a £122bn budget black-hole, could have been even worse, adding: “the outlook for living standards and for the public finances has deteriorated pretty sharply over the last nine months.”

He said Mr Hammond’s promise to balance the books “as soon as possible” in the next parliament up to 2025 was “rather woolly”. But the Brexiteers (I prefer the term Brextremists) decried all the warnings from the experts and criticised them of being overly pessimistic and unfairly painting “another utter doom and gloom scenario” and being in the same category as “soothsayers and astrologers”. Another Brexit minister commented “These predictions are worthless.”

I do hope these Brextremists brush the sand from their hair when they finally get their heads out.


In Mr. Brown’s re-imagining we have Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and David Davis sticking their fingers in their ears, La-La-ing away whilst all around them comes tumbling down.



John Martin, 1851-1853 – Oil on Canvas, 197 cm × 303 cm, Tate Britain, London

I think Dave Brown has summed this week up perfectly

Chris Walker.

Bursting the Westminster Bubble?

Today we have a famous iconic image, controversial in its time, being reused by Dave Brown of the Independent to illustrate a topical political tableau.

I’ll start with the painting. It is a study of a child by Britain’s most famous Pre-Raphaelite artist, Sir John Everett Millais, and it subsequently became world famous when it was used over many generations in advertisements for Pear’s Soap. It was controversial during Millais’s lifetime as it led to a widespread debate about the relationship between art and advertising, something that Warhol many years later would turn back on its head.

Saturday 22nd November. The Independent – Dave Brown/John Everett Millais

The painting portrays a young golden-haired boy looking up at a bubble, symbolising the beauty and fragility of life. On one side of him (on the right hand side of the picture) you can just about make out a young plant growing in a pot, emblematic of life, and on the other is a fallen broken pot, emblematic of death. He is spot-lit against a gloomy background. The arrangement of the objects in the scene was based on 17th-century Dutch precursors in the tradition of vanitas imagery, which commented upon the transience of life. These sometimes depicted young boys blowing bubbles, typically set against skulls and other signs of death. (See here)



Sir John Everett Millais, 1886 – Oil on Canvas, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, England.


The Thursday by-election in Rochester and Strood, caused by a second recent defector to UKIP from the Tories is over – and Mark Reckless, for UKIP, takes the seat. Speculation that other Tories are waiting to see the result before they decide to jump ship is rife. Brown cleverly uses a bubble modelled after Nigel Farage with a pin to prick Cameron’s puce-coloured condom head – popping his bubble – as Reckless sneers on. Poor Ed Miliband is once more depicted by Brown, not as a young plant, but as a dying red rose (Labour) symbolising the relentless pounding in the press he is taking as “not being up to the job”.

Chris Walker.

Deadheading the Rose?

Oh please save me from the right wing media’s promotion of a non-story to suit their agenda. They seem to be running shit scared of Ed Miliband and are using anything to undermine his position as leader of the Labour Party. Is it because they are afraid of a Labour Party in power, is it because Miliband stood up for Leveson and against the excesses of the press or is it because he can’t be manipulated so easily as Cameron? Take your pick.

Let me ask you a simple question:-

One leader of an organisation has more than 20 members openly saying to numerous news sources and internal cabals that he should go, other members are leaving and joining another organisation that is opposed to the one they came from, and there is open infighting about the organisation’s membership of a wider alliance.


A journalist is told by “two unamed sources” that another leader of another organisation is not up to the job.

Which of these seems to carry the most weight?

Anyway Dave Brown doesn’t let me down in his historic reference to a 17th century genre of still-life – Vanitas.

vanitas, (Latin , “vanity”)  A vanitas painting contains collections of objects symbolic of the inevitability of death and the transience and vanity of earthly achievements and pleasures; it exhorts the viewer to consider mortality and to repent. The vanitas evolved from simple pictures of skulls and other symbols of death and transience.’ (The Encyclopedia Britannica)

Saturday 8th November. The Independent – Dave Brown/Philippe de Champaigne


1280px-StillLifeWithASkullSTILL LIFE WITH SKULL.

Philippe de Champaigne, 1671 – Oil on Panel, 28 cm × 37 cm, Le musée de Tessé, Le Mans, France

A cold slab of stone, central and foreshortened, forms the base for Philippe de Champaigne’s still life. The painting is of the genre Vanitas, an image of earthly life’s worthlessness. There are three traditional representations of transience and doom.  The artist uses a cut tulip – for a brief life, an hourglass –  for time passing and a skull – for the inevitable.

Mr Brown changes the symbolism slightly. The red rose of Labour is dying, the hourglass is almost out of sand and the skull is hesitantly (mis)quoting Mark Twain’s famous rebuttal of newspaper reports. We shall see if the repeated character assasinations of Miliband the Younger by the rightwing mainstream media works in the six months up to the next general election.

Chris Walker.