Some of the most powerful and memorable images from the First World War are by cartoonists. From the earliest days of the war, British cartoonists such as Alfred Leete, Bruce Bairnsfather, William Heath Robinson and Donald McGill were at the forefront of propaganda battles aimed at bolstering the war effort, ridiculing the enemy and sustaining the nation through the four long years of conflict.
Never Again! World War I in Cartoon and Comic Art brings together over 300 images, ranging from political and joke cartoons from newspapers and magazines to colourful comic postcards by the likes of Donald McGill and Douglas Tempest on a huge range of subjects, including life in the trenches, popular songs, food shortages and air raids. There are also children’s comics such as Picture Fun and Comic Life, cigarette cards and maps. Also on display are rare German and French postcards, and trench publications produced by serving soldiers, many of which featured cartoons, which have been extensively researched by Professor Jane Chapman from the University of Lincoln, who has contributed to the exhibition.
The exhibition also features some more recent material such as Ralph Steadman’s reworking of Leete’s famous Kitchener design; Charley’s War, the classic 1980s comic strip by Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun, which depicts the horrors of trench warfare; and drawings from the ‘Horrible Histories’ book The Frightful First World War by Terry Deary and Martin Brown.