You are browsing the archive for Dr Tim Benson.

Politics and plebs at awards bash

December 6, 2013 in Events, News

Andrew Mitchell presents Steve Bell with the Political Cartoon of the Year award. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Andrew Mitchell MP presents Steve Bell with the cartoon of the year award. Photo © Kasia Kowalska @ Procartoonists.org

Kasia Kowalska writes:

The annual Political Cartoon of the Year Awards, hosted by the Ellwood Atfield Gallery, in Smith Square, Westminster, were full to the brim with guests and cartoonists alike.

You didn’t have to move far to rub shoulders with the elite of political cartooning in Britain today – most of the nominees, from Christian Adams to Ingram Pinn, Bob Moran to Martin Rowson, were there.

In his welcoming speech, Dr Tim Benson of the Political Cartoon Society, thanked the organisers and said: “We do not lead the world in many things, but we certainly have always led the world with regard to political cartoons.”

Following the introduction of online voting for the Political Cartoon of the Year for the first time, he hinted that, in the future, members of the public would also be able to vote for the Political Cartoonist of the Year.

This year’s awards were presented by the Rt. Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, the former Chief Whip, who has found himself at the sharp end of many a cartoonist’s pen over the past year, during the Plebgate scandal. In spite of this, he admitted that he could not resist accepting the invitation, as he is an enthusiastic collector of political cartoons.

He did not resist giving the gathered cartoonists a taste of their own medicine by reflecting on the unique relationship between politicians and cartoonists as he recalled a recent interview by the head of the Israeli intelligence service who said “he didn’t like politicians because they tended to leave their wounded on the battlefield”.

He added: “It struck me that that’s basically what politicians may do … and then cartoonists come along and finish them off.” He stressed that it is, nonetheless, an enduring relationship.

Steve Bell Margaret Thatcher cartoon

Political Cartoon of the Year © Steve Bell @ Procartoonists.org

Steve Bell was announced the winner of the coveted Gillray Cup for Political Cartoon of the Year for his portrayal of Margaret Thatcher, above, with Andy Davey as the runner up. Morten Morland was named 2013 Political Cartoonist of the Year.

Upon accepting the award from Mr Mitchell, Steve Bell said: “it’s a great honour to get the Gillray goblet, it’s the one to win, that’s for sure.”

Andy Davey accepts his award, flanked by Andrew Mitchell and Tim Benson

Andy Davey accepts his award, flanked by Andrew Mitchell and Tim Benson. Photo © Kasia Kowalska @ Procartoonists.org

The acceptance speech by Andy Davey, who was recently let go in cuts at The Sun, was greeted with a cheer when he addressed the room by saying: “Either you lot are masters of paradox and satire or you’re a bunch of plebs.”

Morten Morland said that he was “as surprised as everyone else and very glad to win the Low Trophy”.

Political Cartoonist of the Year Morten Morland, with the cartoon collector Geoffrey Buchler

Political Cartoonist of the Year Morten Morland, with the cartoon collector Geoffrey Buchler. Photo © Kasia Kowalska @ Procartoonists.org

The exhibition of the political cartoons will run at the Ellwood Atfield Gallery until 23 December.

Many thanks to Kasia for the report and photographs. You can follow Kasia on Twitter: @katyrosesmith

Cartoon Cafe moves to the seaside

January 11, 2012 in Comment

Bloghorn - Cartoon cafe at Eastbourne

Eastbourne will be much more bracing when a gallery of salty and saucy imagery opens its doors this June. 

Tim Benson, who previously ran the Bloomsbury-based Political Cartoon Gallery, will reopen the gallery in premises in the East Sussex town this summer.

Dr Benson plans to host regular exhibitions of cartoon art as well as a cafe. Plans are afoot for an opening exhibition by a leading British cartoonist and the publication of a full colour anthology of his work. 

Bloghorn - Cartoon Cafe at Eastbourne

The cafe will also host a mural made by leading cartoonists carrying a suitable seaside theme and there will be a permanent exhibition of some iconic cartoons from the 20th Century.

More news here when we get it.

UK Political cartoon gallery to move

December 23, 2009 in General

Foghorn for Cartoon of the WeekThe UK Political Cartoon Gallery is to move from its premises on Store Street, near Tottenham Court Road in London, early in 2010.

Owner and publisher Tim Benson told Bloghorn;

I believe we have gone as far as I think we can [at the Store Street venue] without becoming stale and repetitive. Staying in London I believe is also no longer any great advantage. There is just too much competition for publicising what we do. Out of London we believe, we will get far more interest and far more local coverage. A change of direction will breath new life into the society and our new prospective venue will allow us to do far more in the way of exhibitions than we have done before.

Tim would like to thank all those who have supported the gallery over the last five years – and confirms there are four new books planned for publication in the New Year.

London's Political Cartoon Gallery is in rude health

February 11, 2009 in Events, News

Bloghorn can report London’s Political Cartoon Gallery is not going to be closing, contrary to reports in the capital’s Metro newspaper.

According to the Metro, the cartoon gallery, which is the only display space in the world dedicated to the art of the editorial cartoon, is facing closure because of soaring rents and collapsing demand.

But, talking to Bloghorn, gallery owner Tim Benson said the Metro story was confused about a simple renegotiation of the business lease on the premises.

The gallery opened five years ago, and is currently hosting the exhibition Browned Off, featuring cartoons on Gordon Brown’s first 18 months as Prime Minister.

brown4

Cartoon courtesy of The Political Cartoon Gallery and Copyright of Peter Brookes of The Times.

PCO Procartoonists – The Cartoon Century

October 24, 2007 in General


Bloghorn asked author, Tim Benson, owner of London’s Political Cartoon Gallery, all about his new book, The Cartoon Century.

How long has it taken to write and collate the Cartoon Century?
I asked the publishers for three years, but I was given just over a year. It’s amazing what you can do when push comes to shove!

Why did you want to define a cartoon century in the first place? And how did you go about this?
The publishers originally wanted a complete history of Britain but I thought that ridiculous. It would offer no more than a snapshot and would have to miss a great deal. How can one cover a thousand years of history in just one book? This one covers 100 years of history and has 650 cartoons in it. Now that’s comprehensive and thus, I hope, meaningful. The 20th century was the age of the editorial cartoon. Today, Newspapers are in the decline due to fierce competition from the internet and 24-hour TV. Therefore, I argue, in the 21st century the political cartoon will never reach the heights they did during the last one. Fifty or sixty years ago, cartoonists were major celebrities. They were the highest paid men in Fleet Street. Sidney Strube and David Low even made it into Madame Tussards! Has anyone seen Steve Bell, Peter Brookes or Gerald Scarfe in there?

Did your ideas about what you were doing, change while you were writing the book?
It was, as they say an open book, and a lot of it was out of my hands. It all depended on the material I could find. Some events I wanted to cover were either ignored by the cartoonist, or, the paper, presumably, because they believed the subject of the cartoon was not suitable for publication.

Do you have any particular favourites – or high and low points in what you found while you researched?
I tried to include as many cartoons as possible that had not been republished in other anthologies. I love the prophetic ones where the cartoonist seems to have a crystal ball in front of him, such as one about mobile phones in 1922, and another from 1966 suggesting it was time for the Tories to have a woman as leader of the Party. I also enjoyed rediscovering cartoonists from provincial newspapers. Some of them were just as good, if not better, than many working as national newspaper cartoonists.

What’s the follow-up publication going to be?
Well, if I plan to do a direct sequel I’ll probably be just a bit past it at 148 when the time comes, so, instead I’m planning a prequel; a history of the 19th century through cartoons. It should be out by the end of next year.

Thanks to Tim for answering our questions. The exhibition show opens to the public at the Political Cartoon Gallery, on Store Street in London from Friday October 26th. Nearest tube is Goodge Street on the Northern Line.

Sky News have a slideshow of some of the art in the book here

British cartoon talent