MR. PUNCH'S RUSSIAN BALLET - an original printed appearance of this cartoon featuring Winston S. Churchill from the Punch's Almanack for 1913. Artist: Bernard Partridge.

MR. PUNCH'S RUSSIAN BALLET - an original printed appearance of this cartoon featuring Winston S. Churchill from the Punch's Almanack for 1913

London: Punch, 1913. 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 is atypical in several respects. It is a large, fold-out affair, measuring 16.75 x 11.125 inches (42.55 x 28.26 cm). It is printed on slightly thicker stock than most such cartoons. Moreover, it is rendered in color. This cartoon was included in Punch's Almanack for 1913. The artist is Bernard Partridge. The cartoon is titled "MR. PUNCH'S RUSSIAN BALLET." Winston Churchill is among the many political figures unflatteringly portrayed, Winston wearing a ludicrously tiny Admiralty hat and bearing a trident. Churchill had been First Lord of the Admiralty since 1911 and was presiding over modernization of the British fleet amid the naval arms race that preceded the First World War. Both the British Navy under Churchill's Admiralty and the German High Seas Fleet were expanding. Winston is portrayed as a ballet dancer starring in "L'eau Bleue." (Blue Water) with Kaiser Wilhelm II, the latter also bearing a trident, the Kaiser in a stentorian posture, Winston more coquettish, both finger-wagging.

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 #007119

Price: $125.00

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