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LSE unveils important collection of drawings by leading political cartoonists

Drawings by some of the UK's leading political cartoonists, including Raymond Jackson (aka JAK), Wally Fawkes (aka Trog), Peter Brookes, James Ferguson and Martin Rowson, will be unveiled at LSE today (Monday 7 September).

Cartoon of Margaret Thatcher and John Major by Martin RowsonRecently discovered by LSE the pictures, mostly published in the early 1990s, portray leading names and events of the age. Between them, the artists represented have appeared in almost every major news publication in the UK.

The artworks range from depictions of leading figures such as Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Lord Ashcroft, to contemporary events, including the Middle-Eastern peace process and one artist's take on the Silcott affair, when convicted murderer Winston Silcott was nominated as the Student Union's honorary president.  

The display also explores the wider role of LSE in contemporary society, with Peter Clarke's work openly referring to the relations between academia, society and politics.

Cartoon illustration: The Explosive Divide by Peter Clarke


Almost all of the drawings can be directly related to LSE publications such as the LSE Annual Review and LSE Magazine. In particular, there appears to have been a very healthy commissioning culture between 1992 and 1995, with cartoons by James Ferguson, Peter Brookes and Wally Fawkes forming a major artistic presence in the LSE Magazine and Annual Review.  

Although Raymond Jackson has passed away, and Wally Fawkes has retired from a life in cartoons due to failing eyesight, many of the artists continue to contribute to the national broadsheets. Peter Brookes' work can be regularly seen in the pages of The Times; James Ferguson has been ensconced at the Financial Times for over two decadesand Martin Rowson frequently submits work to The Independent and The Guardian.   

Cartoon illustration: Social Psychology by James FergusonHenry Little, curator of the display, said: 'As a collection, these drawings speak volumes as to LSE's self-perception. Most notably, there is the desire to celebrate the academics who have contributed to the School's world renowned reputation. But also, crucially, to the historical position of the School within the great traditions of the subjects which it holds dear. Frequently, as with James Ferguson's caricatures of individual subjects, great figures from the history of a particular discipline and the thinkers at LSE who have taught it are, in fact, one and the same.

'One of the most conspicuous features of this collection is the tone. Whilst these works are all caricatures and, by default, intended to be humorous, it is hard not to notice the rather jocular, self-deprecating manner which seems to emanate from the sitters themselves.'

62 drawings in total will be on permanent display in the Staff Dining Room, Old Building, LSE.




LSE Arts
LSE does not teach arts or music, but it does have a vibrant cultural side which includes weekly music concerts, an orchestra and choir with their own professional conductors and numerous student art societies. LSE Arts is a three year funded initiative within the School which aims to not only present high quality cultural events for students, staff and public, but to also explore and nurture closer links between the arts and social sciences through a rolling programme of contemporary art exhibitions, talks and events. Through this work the School hopes to provide a different and somewhat unique perspective on the arts and the social sciences. http://www.lse.ac.uk/arts

7 September 2009