Major Tonie and Valmai Holt are the leading experts on Capt. Bruce Bairnsfather, and will discuss and explore the life and work of an artist whose talents spanned cartooning, writing, and even film making.
Bruce Bairnsfather’s cartoons are some of the most famous images of the First World War. His principal character – a phlegmatic, moustachio-ed soldier known as ‘Old Bill’, was immortalized in the unforgettable ‘The Better ‘Ole’ artwork, and reproduced on pottery, postcards, playing cards, and in books, plays, films in the UK and world-wide. And his work continues to inform and inspire cartoonists and comic artists working today.
The Holts became fascinated by the man while researching the First World War, and by talking with people – soldiers, civilians, mothers, wives – who remembered with clarity and emphasis how much Old Bill had meant to them, and how he was able to keep their spirits up during wartime. And it was for this incredible ability to boost morale through the medium of cartooning that he has been called ‘The Man Who Won the War’.