THE PLAIN DEALER. - an original printed appearance of this cartoon featuring Winston S. Churchill from the 20 March 1912 edition of the magazine Punch, or The London Charivari
London: Punch, 1912. 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 PLAIN DEALER." appeared thus on p.205 of the 20 March 1912 issue of Punch. The artist is Leonard Raven-Hill. Then First Lord of the Admiralty, Churchill supported the Admiralty's "Two-Power Standard," a level of strength enabling the Royal Navy to defeat the next two most powerful navies in battle. Nevertheless, Churchill hoped that Germany and Britain might avoid a costly arms race. Hence the caption: "(The Navy Estimates just issued are expressly stated by Mr. Churchill to be conditional upon the naval programmes of other nations.")" The flag, of course, evokes Nelson's famous exhortation at Trafalgar: "England expects that every man will do his duty."
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 #007113