James Friell a.k.a. Gabriel a.k.a. Jimmy Friell a.k.a. Field pt.2

Earlier this year Special Collections & Archives hosted two student interns with the generous support of Kent’s Work-Study scheme. Becca and Emily worked on our James Friell collection from the British Cartoon Archive, helping to sort, repackage and list this large collection of cuttings and original artworks. In this second of two posts written by Becca and Emily, they give an overview of their time with us:

Introductions

Hello! We are two interns, working with the Special Collections and Archives, as part of the Work-Study scheme.

I am Becca, a final year Classical and Archaeological Studies undergraduate student. Although my interests are mainly in a far earlier period than is covered by the Friell collection, I’ve found the cartoons both interesting, funny, and in some cases, still relevant – they clearly stand the test of time!

I am Emily, a final year History undergraduate student. The Friell collection has been fascinating to work with, largely my historical interests and expertise surrounds modern political history, as such the collection has helped me with my studies and vice versa.

The Collection

The Friell collection primarily contains newspaper cartoon cuttings and original artwork of the late political cartoonist, James Friell, also known by his ​Daily Worker ​pen name, Gabriel. The University of Kent has one of the biggest cartoon archives in the UK and the pieces in their Friell collection easily numbers in the thousands. The collection also features personal items such as small biographies written by Friell himself, personal greetings cards sent to friends, and rough sketches. It’s fantastic to work with a collection as complete as this, where we can read about Friell’s life in and outside of cartoons, and see not only the published work, but the original concepts and artwork, too.

The Task

Before and after: the original folders and boxes for the cuttings are on the right, and the repackaged on the left.

Our first task with the collection was to sort through the thousands of cartoon clippings from both ​The Daily Worker ​and The Evening Standard. ​This involved date ordering the clippings and repackaging the collection to conservation grade standard. Our next task was to then research the original artwork in order to date the pieces, as well as cross referencing with the cartoon clippings we had previously worked with, to organise the artwork and make it accessible for readers.

What were the main challenges with working with this collection?

Newspaper cutting from the Friell collection

One of the biggest challenges of working with the Friell collection was also one of the best parts: it is completely uncatalogued and little work had been done on it until we began. Whilst this meant that we had a mammoth task of sorting the collection from scratch, it was also great to know that when we finished the project, we would’ve been responsible for sorting and caring for an entire collection from start to finish.

The biggest challenge came from working with the original artwork within the collection. Whereas with the cuttings, the date was often written on the cartoon or printed on the newspaper, the majority of the original artwork was both undated and in no discernable order – cartoons from ​The Daily Worker ​in 1948 mingled freely with those from 1957, where Friell had begun signing his work with his surname, rather than the familiar Gabriel. The only way we had to date these artworks was to search through the cuttings to find the corresponding date that the cartoon had been printed. When faced with thousands of cuttings and thousands of original artworks, you can forgive us if there were tears! Nevertheless, we powered on and in just a few weeks, had the majority of the original artwork listed, dated, and linked to their corresponding newspaper cutting.

What has been the best thing about working in Special Collections & Archives?

Our Templeman exhibition cases in the Templeman Gallery

We have loved the variety. Whilst caring for and sorting the Friell collection was our primary project, we had the opportunity to help install the Our Templeman exhibition in the Library’s Gallery space, including cases dedicated to the Maddison collection and David Drummond Pantomime collection. This not only taught us the practical handling and displaying skills necessary for exhibition work, but also gave us the opportunity to work with varied collections outside of Friell.

David Drummond Pantomime exhibition case

The whole experience has been fantastic, the Special Collections & Archives team are so lovely to work with and the feeling of completing a task the size of the Friell collection was amazing. Most of all, this internship has provided us with invaluable experience, which has meant that we both have either secured a place in further education or a graduate role within the archive sector, something that seemed unattainable without this role.

James Friell a.k.a. Gabriel a.k.a. Jimmy Friell a.k.a. Field

Earlier this year Special Collections & Archives hosted two student interns with the generous support of Kent’s Work-Study scheme. Becca and Emily worked on our James Friell collection from the British Cartoon Archive, helping to sort, repackage and list this large collection of cuttings and original artworks. In this first of two posts written by Becca and Emily, they give an overview of Friell’s life and work:

Cover of “Gabriel’s 1946 review in cartoons from the ‘Daily Worker'”, a compendium of his cartoons published that year.

“So you became a cartoonist, but why a political cartoonist? The answer to that was that I grew up in Glasgow in the thirties and I still can’t understand anyone who grew up anywhere in the thirties not being political.”

James Friell (1912-1997), also known by Jimmy Friell, Gabriel, and Field, was a political cartoonist for various British newspapers and television programmes between 1936 and 1988. Born in 1912 in Glasgow to a large Irish Catholic family, Friell showed artistic talent from an early age. He was a bright boy who was offered a scholarship for an academy, which would have led to university, but his father made him turn it down in favour of work. He worked in a solicitor’s office, where he sold a few cartoons to Glaswegian and London newspapers, before pursuing a cartoonist career full-time.

Friell’s first position began in 1936 at The Daily Worker, a Communist party-owned weekly paper whose views fell in line with his own. Here, he took the pen name ‘Gabriel’, after the archangel, and joined the Communist party in 1937. During his time at the paper, Gabriel’s main targets were Churchill, Mussolini, and Hitler, with a good few jabs at the Labour and Tory parties. He was called up to the Royal Artillery during the Second World War but served his time in a factory, due to his known ties to the Communist party. He worked for The Daily Worker until 1956, leaving when he felt he could no longer work for a Communist paper who condemned the evils of capitalism whilst praising the “acknowledged evils” of Communism in Russia.

Sheffield Youth Peace Festival 1952 (FR0476)

After a few months out of work, Friell took up a job with the Evening Standard, leaving his pen name Gabriel behind. He worked there for five and a half years, from 1956-1962, now signing his cartoons ‘Friell’. He left the Evening Standard after a new cartoonist was brought in, knowing that no other other paper would hire a hard-left cartoonist and being forced to take on several other pseudonyms to get work. He worked in television for a few years, winning the Bronze Award in 1983 for a television cartoon piece, before moving to his last position at The New Civil Engineer magazine in 1973.

James Friell was discovered by an American professor in 1986 after years of living in obscurity, leading to a History Today article, interviews deposited into the National Library of the Spoken Word, and several lectures for the Americans Social Historians group. He retired in 1988 and died in 1997, aged 84. The Friell collection in the University of Kent’s Special Collections & Archives is lucky to have a wide range of pieces surrounding the cartoonist – from newspaper cartoon cuttings and original artworks from his time at The Daily Worker and Evening Standard, to rough sketches and personal greetings cards. Our next blog post will detail our work with the collection, including some of the challenges that come with attempting to sort such a large and varied collection.

Keep Smiling Through: Humour and the Second World War exhibition

Keen ears might have heard some music echoing through the Templeman Gallery lately! To find out more about our latest exhibition, read on…

KEM: "C'est encore ce sacre Churchill..." published in Le Petit Parisien, May 1940

KEM: “C’est encore ce sacre Churchill…” published in Le Petit Parisien, May 1940

Keep Smiling Through: British Humour and the Second World War explores the use of humour in cartoons, letters, books, ephemera and artefacts from the First and Second World Wars. This exhibition has been curated to support the symposium of the same title held here at the University of Kent on 12–13 September 2019 with the assistance of Special Collections & Archives’ inaugural exhibition interns.

Using the British Cartoon Archive’s extensive collection of cartoons, ephemera, letters, and artefacts, this exhibition explores how humour was used throughout the Second World War to discuss politics, military campaigns, and improve morale both on the front line and at home. It also explores how the British press portrayed other theatres of war. The exhibition offers an insight into the reactions of the British public and traces responses to the present day as contemporary cartoonists echo the iconography pioneered by 20th century artists. The archives of Carl Giles and KEM, held here at Kent, are showcased extensively – including films made by Giles for the Ministry of Information during the War.

Entry is (as always) free and the gallery is open during the Templeman Library’s opening hours. The exhibition runs until 25 October. We hope to see you soon!

7 ways to find material in the British Cartoon Archive

Welcome to part two of our refresher series on how to find Special Collections & Archive material to use in your research! Today, we’re exploring the wonderful (and sometimes weird) world of the British Cartoon Archive (BCA).

Kent’s British Cartoon Archive is one of the largest collections of political cartoons in the UK, if not the world; since its establishment by academics here in the 1970s, the Archive has grown to contain material from over 300 artists, and over 200,000 cartoons have been digitised and put online through the British Cartoon Archive catalogue.

With such a vast collection, it can be tricky to know where to start searching for material! But we are here, as ever, to guide you through our wonderful cartoon collections…

1) Think around your research area

As cartoons tend to be catalogued using the language of the time, it’s worth taking a few minutes to jot down some words, people, places and dates related to your topic. This way you can try other searches if your initial results don’t yield much – it can be a real trial and error type quest! Here’s an example, imagining you’re interested in cartoons from the Second World War:

2) Books or artwork?

You can find British Cartoon Archive material in two places: if it’s books and journals you’re interested in, LibrarySearch is your place to go. You can find our guide to locating material using LibrarySearch here.

If it’s cartoons, there’s a whole new website for you to explore! Much of the BCA’s art is available to view online for free through the BCA catalogue – you don’t need a special log in to do so.

BCA1 - British Cartoon Archive catalogue

3) Searching the BCA catalogue – general searches

If you want a general overview of what artwork can be found in the British Cartoon Archive that’s relevant to your research, the main search bar at the top of the catalogue is your friend. You can search by keyword / artist / place / date and the catalogue will bring up images that match your terms. You can order the images by date and view every relevant image on one page rather than clicking through, if you prefer to do so.

BCA2 - Initial searches

BCA3 - first search

4) Searching the BCA catalogue – if you know what you’re looking for

If you know have a rather more specific search term, you can use either of the ‘Advanced Search’ options on the left hand side. If you’re after seeing all cartoons of Margaret Thatcher, use the ‘persons depicted’ search. If you’re interested in cartoons between specific dates, or on a certain topic but by a particular artist, the ‘cartoons’ search is for you.

5) Click through for bigger images

When you find relevant results, you’ll see a tiny version of the cartoon next to a description of the work. Click through twice and you’ll see a larger version of the image.

6) Don’t forget copyright

42061 – Leslie Gibbard: “With the compliments of my client – she’s suing for breach of copyright!”, 15 June 1988, The Guardian

Although the BCA looks after (and owns) many collections of cartoons, we don’t always hold the rights to reproduce the images. Many cartoonists’ work is owned by the newspapers they draw for, so if you’re looking for an image to publish please do take note of the copyright information that’s included in the catalogue entry. We can also supply higher-resolution versions of images for a fee, but bear in mind that the copyright owners may also charge for image use. You can find more information on copyright here.

If you’re wanting to use BCA images for use in presentations, essays or teaching, please do get in touch with us and we can explain how this works.

7) Explore the biographies for artist (and collection) information

Did you know that the BCA website has details about almost every cartoonist within our holdings which you can browse? What’s more, if you scroll down to the bottom of each artist biography page you can find details of any additional holdings that aren’t catalogued yet – so if something doesn’t appear on the main BCA catalogue, it’s worth having a look here. You’re welcome to view uncatalogued material, just get in touch with us and say what you’d like to see.

Part of our ongoing series about finding material in Special Collections & Archives: see also tips for exploring collections through LibrarySearch

Vote 100: W.K. Haselden and women’s changing role in early 20th century society

This week (6th February, to be exact) marks 100 years since women first gained the right to vote in the United Kingdom. This anniversary is being celebrated across the country and online using #Vote100. Of course, this also gives those of us lucky enough to work with historical collections a chance to explore women’s history in our holdings, so we’re going to be highlighting some of our favourite stories and figures over the next month.

Today, our attention turns to the British Cartoon Archive and a somewhat unexpected supporter of women’s rights – the artist W.K. Haselden…

W.K. Haselden (1872 – 1953) spent most of his career as a cartoonist at the Daily Mirror newspaper, as well as drawing theatrical caricatures for Punch magazine. Haselden is most well known for his art during the First World War – his characters ‘Big and Little Willie’, which mocked Kaiser Wilhelm and his son, were tremendously popular.

Haselden is also famed for shifting his cartooning style from political satire to social commentary. The Daily Mirror, which Haselden joined in its founding year of 1903, was created as a newspaper for women – it focused on human interest stories and had a visual format filled with photographs and images. It is no surprise, then, that women feature heavily in Haselden’s cartoons as the Edwardian era progressed and gender roles were debated extensively in a changing society.

Haselden was broadly flattering towards women, and much of his work suggests that society might be a more pleasant place if women were involved in men’s work, as this cartoon from 1915 shows:

WH1451: ‘Some Trades In Which Women Are Replacing Men’, 12 March 1915, Daily Mirror

Haselden drew on domestic life to highlight the increasing blurring lines between the private and public realms. In 1916’s cartoon ‘Why women may not be lawyers’, ladies’ ability to have the last word proves frustrating in a judicial context:

WH3827, ‘Why women may not be lawyers’, 20th January 1916, Daily Mirror

Haselden was critical of some of the hypocrisy in Edwardian society, particularly around what women were and were not allowed to do. The pencil notes at the top of the following cartoon (‘What women mustn’t do – and why’) begin with ‘If a woman shouldn’t vote because she doesn’t fight…’, alluding to the argument that suffrage should not be granted to women because they could not join the British Army:

WH1217, ‘What Women mustn’t do – and Why’, 17 January 1918, Daily Mirror

Interestingly, Haselden explores areas where men cannot match women’s skill in certain roles, particularly anything relating to domestic labour. During the First World War, women began working in roles which traditionally employed men, but were now empty as soldiers were needed on the Western Front. This led to discussions around men filling women’s roles in return (often with comical consequences):

WH3817, ‘Now that women are doing men’s jobs’, 17 January 1917, Daily Mirror

Haselden wasn’t entirely supportive of women’s involvement in politics, being particularly critical of the suffragette campaigns. His cartoons suggest that the suffragettes’ methods were silly and ineffective, and that getting involved with politics was a look most women would wish to avoid:

WH0827, ‘Some useful strikes that women might adopt’. 12 October 1912, Daily Mirror

WH0522 – ‘Effects of “votes for women” – upon Women’s faces’, 15 December 1910. Daily Mirror

Men were not exempted from criticism of the suffragettes’ cause. In 1912, Haselden jokingly suggested that male responsiveness to women getting the vote depended primarily on the attractiveness of the campaigner in question:

WH1750, ‘His interest in Votes for Women?’, 30 October 1912, Daily Mirror

Haselden’s commentary is one of the joys of exploring the British Cartoon Archive; it’s nuanced but surprisingly light-hearted. Haselden highlights the frivolities of both men and women during the early 20th century, but also points out that a more equal society might not be a bad thing for anyone. And, of course, who can disagree with his point that women’s dresses should have more pockets?! A thoroughly modern man, indeed.

WH4765, ‘When men imitate women’, 30 June 1909, Daily Mirror

Our collection of Haselden cartoons can be explored through the British Cartoon Archive catalogue online, and his books are catalogued on LibrarySearch. To view any of Haselden’s original artworks held in the British Cartoon Archive, please do get in touch with us. 

 

Sources:

Little, D. (2004-09-23). Haselden, William Kerridge (1872–1953), cartoonist and caricaturist. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 5 Feb. 2018, from http://www.oxforddnb.com.chain.kent.ac.uk/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-66122

W.K. Haselden biography at the British Cartoon Archive

https://www.britannica.com/topic/The-Mirror-British-newspaper