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 "WELL-EARNED INCREMENT.” appeared thus on p.475 of the 11 December 1912 issue of Punch. The artist is Bernard Partridge. The cartoon is subtitled "(Design for an Admiralty Christmas-Card.)" In the cartoon, Churchill is depicted as a cloud-borne cherub dispensing a huge bag of money above the banner "I'm the sweet little Cherub that sits up aloft | To keep watch o'er the life of poor Jack." The issue is of increased pay for common seamen ("Jack"). Of note, Churchill bought the original drawing from the cartoonist, who wrote to Churchill to thank him for his 10 guineas. This cartoon, despite an unflattering caricature, is complimentary and supportive of Churchill's attention, as First Lord of the Admiralty, to the pay and welfare of sailors. Churchill's purchase of the cartoon can be regarded as reflecting the importance of the issue to him.
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 #007118