29 January 2016

A Taste of Honeysett at the Cartoon Museum

I was aware of the A Taste of Honeysett exhibition at the Cartoon Museum and was trying to find the time to see it when technology came to my rescue.

I was working in the London office on a Friday afternoon when we suddenly lost all communications, telephone and computer network. After half an hour or so it became clear that they were not coming back and so there was no point staying in the office unable to work. So I went out.

The Cartoon Museum is about twenty minutes walk away and so this was the ideal opportunity to go there.

I had been a Honeysett fan for many years. As a young lad I used to read all the cartoons in Punch and it was the Honeysett ones that made the biggest impact, I can still remember the double page spread on doctors holding their surgeries in pubs which included a drawing of a doctor lying on the floor and the nurse informing the waiting room that he was now only seeing foot disorders. Similarly there was one with two old men in a pub talking about a third who was lying on the floor unconscious. This was before a drinking competition and one of the men said to the other that he was surprised that the third man had collapsed so quickly as he had done well in the lunchtime practise session.

Admission is normally a paltry £7 but I got in for free with my ArtFund card. The Honeysett exhibition was on the ground floor with the usual exhibition upstairs.

The Cartoon Museum has an enlightened view of photography and bans close-ups as they infringe copyright but allows general shots, like this one, that give a general view of the galleries. From this you can see that it was, unsurprisingly, full of cartoons.

It was not a large rooms but the addition of a few partitions created more wall space and there were a lot of cartoons to look at. Of course cartoons cannot just be looked at, they need to be read and I read every one of them which took me the best part of an hour.

Like the cartoons that I remembered from Punch they were mostly of domestic situations, the one at the top (this is the cover of the exhibition catalogue) was typical, though politics did sneak in sometimes. There was one political cartoon that I would have photographed if allowed and that was a large coloured work commenting on the way that free capital was ripping up the Japanese landscape to build inappropriate skyscrapers. Where Japan led London is following.

The Cartoon Museum is a lovely place for anybody interested in comics or cartoons and I really should go there more often. I'll make even more of an effort to do so when they put on exhibitions as good as A Taste of Honeysett.

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