London: Punch, 1910. This original printed appearance of a Punch cartoon featuring Winston S. Churchill comes from the personal collection of Gary L. Stiles, author of Churchill in Punch (Unicorn Publishing Group, 2022). His book is the first ever effort to definitively catalog, describe, and contextualize all of the many Punch cartoons featuring Churchill.
This cartoon titled "The Constitution in the Melting-Pot” appeared thus on p.261 of the 13 April 1910 issue of Punch. The artist is Bernard Partridge. The cartoon, an evocation of Shakespeare's Macbeth, is captioned "The Three Witches. 'Double, double toil and trouble!' - Macbeth, Act IV., Scene 1.". Prime Minister Herbert Asquith had introduced resolutions designed to prevent the House of Lords from vetoing legislation. Asquith is shown with Churchill and Lloyd George. The title for this comes from Lord Ampthill, who said "The government of the country is in the hands of unscrupulous adventurers and demagogues, who are so puffed up with pride of place that they are willing to put the Constitution in the melting pot and play the devil with the finances in order to throw the chaos at the House of Lords."
Punch or The London Charivari began featuring Churchill cartoons in 1900, when his political career was just beginning. That political career would last two thirds of a century, see him occupy Cabinet office during each of the first six decades of the twentieth century, carry him twice to the premiership and, further still, into the annals of history as a preeminent statesman. And throughout that time, Punch satirized Churchill in cartoons – more than 600 of them, the work of more than 50 different artists.
It was a near-perfect relationship between satirists and subject. That Churchill was distinctive in both persona and physical appearance helped make him easy to caricature. To his persona and appearance he added myriad additional satirical temptations, not just props, like his cigars, siren suits, V-sign, and hats, but also a variety of ancillary avocations and vocations, like polo, painting, brick-laying, and writing. All these were skewered as well.
Some Punch cartoons were laudatory, some critical, and many humorous, like the man himself. Nearly always, Churchill was distinctly recognizable, a larger-than-life character whose presence caricature served only to magnify. Item #007090