Lectures are in the ArtsHouse: 10.45 for morning members: 13.30 for afternoon members.
Thursday 21 September 2017
Giles: His Life and Cartoons
Speaker: Barry Venning
Stratford ArtsHouse rocked to gales of laughter when lecturer Barry Venning gave a talk to members of Stratford Decorative and Fine Arts Society on Giles, the greatest cartoonist of the twentieth century. Along with STRADFAS members his fans included Frank Sinatra, the Commandant of Belsen and the Duke of Edinburgh – the Royal Family own the largest collection of Giles originals.
Not everyone appreciated him though; Churchill hated his war cartoons because he made fun of Hitler (always drawn as very tiny) and Mussolini instead of depicting them as monsters. Giles relished letters from detractors usually making them the subject of his next cartoon.
Although a lifelong Socialist he drew three cartoons per week for the right wing Express newspapers for forty eight years because they gave him access to four million readers and incidentally made him rich and famous.
His own views and opinions were expressed through, perhaps the best known and loved member of the Giles cartoon family, Grandma, described by the humourist Dennis Nordern as the only credible character in British Life. Never without her flowery hat and fur- trimmed coat she would set about politicians, traffic wardens, Doctors and even a herd of charging rhino with her duck head handled brolly or, on occasion, a luger pistol. She was a ‘violent’ pacifist.
Though self- taught, Giles was a consummate draughtsman, his cartoons giving us fifty years of architectural as well as social history and judging by the laughter at the talk, they are as funny as ever.