A top draw life-saver

To help it stay home, The Cartoon Museum has published a fundraising e-book reflecting cartoonists’ views of the Covid crisis

Saturday, 19th December 2020 — By Tom Foot

In Bleach Trump

Glenn Marshall’s first prize-winning artwork, In Bleach Trump

CARTOONS submitted to a “draw the coronavirus” competition have been brought together to support a threatened museum.

The e-book, the brainchild of chairman of the British Cartoonists’ Association and a trustee of The Cartoon Museum, Martin Rowson, who put out an appeal for submissions in April, is raising funds for the Cartoon Museum in Wells Street, Fitzrovia.

The book is a snapshot of a country in lockdown and contains 193 cartoons by 71 artists.

Mr Rowson, a cartoonist and author, said: “Faced with an invisible enemy, a question should be nagging away at the back of each of our minds: what’s this virusy b****** look like?

“And, as it’s our job to reimagine our leaders the better to enable us to laugh at them, who’s more qualified to define corona in all its pandemic Covidness than cartoonists? Forget electron microscopes – here you’ll find the truest and most accurate depictions of our common foe!”

Featured artists include Ralph Steadman, Steve Bell, Ben Jennings, Nick Newman, Banx, Steve Bright, Zoom Rockman, Grizelda and Glenn Marshall.

The £10 e-book will be available to buy through the Cartoon Museum’s online shop, with all proceeds going towards the museum’s fundraising appeal.

Pubs Reopen by Grizelda, originally published in The New Statesman

The museum, which has been severely hit by Covid, is looking to secure its long-term future and stay in its current home, Wells Street. It opened in 2006 in Little Russell Street, near the British Museum, but moved to Wells Street in 2018 on a peppercorn rent arrangement.

The main gallery features more than 100 original artworks, including pieces from comics such as the Beano and V for Vendetta, as well as more contemporary political cartoons, which rotate.

The charity-based museum also hosts its own Cartoon Trust Awards giving in particular Lifetime Achievement Awards to artists considered to have made a significant contribution to British cartooning including among others Victor Weisz, otherwise Vicky, who lived in Hampstead, Frank Dickens from Belsize Park and Wally Fawkes, otherwise Trog, of Kentish Town.

As with so many organisations, Covid has had a devastating effect on the museum, which is budgeting for an 80 per cent cut in visitor numbers next year. It raised more than £100,000 during the first lockdown through donations.

Director Joe Sullivan said: “It has been fantastic to see the creativity and humour of these artists in the face of coronavirus, reflecting issues everyone has been struggling with through lockdown, and using it as fuel to make us laugh. It is a pleasure to work with them all and share their amazing work with everyone in this e-book.”

He added: “Thank you, too, all our supporters for helping us to survive through the pandemic, and we hope this book brings you as much fun reading it as we had making it.”

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