Be careful what you say and where you say it! – one of several wartime “Careless Talk Costs Lives” posters by Kenneth Bird a.k.a Fougasse
The exhibition Fougasse – Careless Talk Costs Lives opens at the Cartoon Musuem in London on Thursday (September 9) and runs until November 24.
Kenneth Bird (1887-1965), who drew under the pen name Fougasse, was the first cartoonist to edit Punch magazine. He popularised the simple joke cartoon, with minimal lines and short captions, moving the magazine’s cartoons away from their Victorian roots. The exhibition features more than 80 works by Fougasse and shows how his style became progressively more direct and economical.
Fougasse is best known today as the creator of the “Careless Talks Costs Lives” propaganda posters which he produced during the Second World War. The “anti-gossip” campaign, which was launched in 1940 by the Ministry of Information, showed Hitler and Goering eavesdropping in the most unlikely places.
They remain some of the most memorable images of the Second World War. Fougasse’s wartime work earned him a CBE in 1946.
The exhibition coincides with the publication of Careless Talk Costs Lives: Fougasse and the Art of Public Information by James Taylor and published by Conway.
The Cartoon Musuem, in Little Russel Street, London, is open Tues-Sat: 10.30am-5.30pm and Sun12pm-5.30pm. Admission: Adults £5, Conc £4, Students £3, Free to Under-18s. Nearest Tube stations: Holborn or Tottenham Court Road.