Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Sunday, February 4, 2024

The Wartime Cartoons of J.M. Staniforth

Call to Arms

Joseph Morewood Staniforth was born at Gloucester on 16 May 1863 to a saw repairer/cutler and his wife. Staniforth grew up in Cardiff and left school at 15 to become a printer’s apprentice with the Western Mail.  His emerging talent as an illustrator led to his transfer to the paper’s editorial team and his employment as an occasional and then a regular cartoonist, both for the Western Mail and its sister paper, the Evening Express, and, from 1893 onward, for the News of the World

J.M. Staniforth (1863–1921)

Although occasionally interrupted by illness (he suffered from tuberculosis and heart problems), Staniforth’s work appeared very regularly for both the Cardiff Daily and the British Sunday until his death on 17 December 1921.

Gas—'Last Resort of Cowardice'

Threat of War Over Serbia

Stock Character "Pepper" Victorious at the Somme
(Inspiration for Sgt. Pepper?)

His cartoons during the war are uniformly patriotic and supportive of the war, unforgivingly anti-German, and explicitly encouraging of Welsh support of the Allies. Few seem to be explicitly tragic, and many of them have a humorous aspect ranging from caustic and sarcastic to  a  Bairnsfather-like sympathy for the Tommies' plight. In this article I've included but a few specimens of his work I've found online.

After the Dardanelles—Churchill's Career Set Adrift

The Kaiser as a Gutter Artist

Staniforth created over 1300 cartoons for the Western Mail from 1914 to 1918, providing a unique and fascinating insight into how the war unfolded on the Welsh Home Front. Over 400 of his wartime cartoons have been archived with additional commentary at Cartooning the First World War HERE. 

The Russian's Have an Early Success in Galicia

Sources: Passports to Oblivion: J.M. Staniforth’s Political Cartoons for the News of the World, 1893–1921; Imperial War Museum; People's Collection of Wales

No comments:

Post a Comment