Press cartoons go on display

An exhibition of work by Gilbert Illingworth is on display at the gallery

The founder of the Political Cartoon Society has opened what he claims is the first gallery in the world dedicated to press cartoon art.

Based in central London, the gallery has opened with an exhibition of the work of former Punch and Daily Mail cartoonist Gilbert Illingworth.

The gallery sells original artwork by leading political cartoonists, past and present. Downstairs is the Cartoon Café, which has a mural featuring work from most of the country’s leading cartoonists.

The society was founded in 2000 to support an exhibition of work by Sir David Low and now has a membership of 300.

Former history teacher Dr Tim Benson, who founded the group, said: “We are the only gallery in the world dedicated to political caricatures and editorial cartooning.

“I’ve been working on a concept that would be viable for six or seven years and I have come up with this. It’s quite exciting to do something that no-one has attempted to do before.

“Cartoons are wonderful because you don’t just get the most wonderful works of art, you’ve got a piece of history and a talking point. I think political cartoons are a very under-valued art form.

“When we approached the Arts Council for a grant they said they didn’t consider them to be an art form; installations yes, concept art yes, but cartoons no.”

The Illingworth exhibition is open now and the Cartoon Café is to open from Tuesday (7 October).

Illingworth began his career as political cartoonist for the Western Mail in 1920 and was a regular cartoonist for Punch from 1927 to 1969.

From 1939 to 1969 he was also political cartoonist at the Daily Mail where his work so upset Adolf Hitler that he was reportedly put on a hit list of British citizens to be targeted after an invasion.

The exhibition is free and the gallery is at 32 Store Street, London W1. The opening times are Monday to Friday 9am-5.30pm and Saturdays, 11am-5.30pm.

Other forthcoming events include an exhibition of the work of famous Daily Express cartoonist Strube, which is due to be opened by Richard Desmond on November 4.

More details are available at the website www.politicalcartoon.co.uk

By Dominic Ponsford

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