Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Thursday 21 May 2009

Maggie and Dennis*

*(no, not her husband)

I was almost forgetting, I went to see the Cartoon Museum last weekend.

It's a small space in Bloomsbury. Sadly, it doesn't display what you might call a comprehensive collection, though it has a research library of several thousand images.

On the ground floor there's an overview of the history of caricaturing from the eighteenth century onwards, with some built examples of Heath Robinson machines. At the moment, there's a special exhibition on cartoonists' views of Margaret Thatcher - both for and against. Strange to look at the ups and downs of her public image as though it was ancient history, and surprising to view it so dispassionately.

Upstairs, there's an even smaller space devoted to comics in barely a dozen display cabinets (as well as a room for visiting school parties to draw their own comic strips). Not a sign of the French worship of the "bande dessinee", but some moments of nostalgia as I revisited Korky the Cat, the Bash Street Kids - and (who else) Dennis the Menace (no, not the American one).

Not to mention some fine examples of the oeuvre of Donald McGill.

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