THE GEOGRAPHY LESSON. - an original printed appearance of this cartoon featuring Winston S. Churchill from the 5 June 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 GEOGRAPHY LESSON." appeared thus on p.423 of the 5 June 1912 issue of Punch. The artist is Leonard Raven-Hill. The image is captioned "Dr. Kitchener. 'Now, what do you know about the Mediterranean?' Master Churchill. 'Well, it looks like a nice place for ships; but to tell you the truth, we've been concentrating our attention on the North Sea lately, haven't we, Herbert?' Master Asquith. 'That is so.'" Kitchener was Consul-General in Egypt, Churchill First Lord of the Admiralty, and Asquith Prime Minister. Churchill's Admiralty was concentrating on strengthening naval resources in the North Sea. Kitchener is reminding Churchill about the Mediterranean. At the outbreak of the First World War, Kitchener - with whom Churchill had clashed since his days as an itinerant cavalry officer and war correspondent - would become Secretary of State for War.
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 #007116