We all love cartoons – they seek to entertain and amuse. But sometimes their fun hides a serious message.
This new exhibition, now open, explores the relationship between cartoonists and the sea over the past hundred years or so, featuring images from notable cartoonists such as W.K. Haselden, Will Dyson, Emmwood, Giles, Strube, Trog and others, mostly original artwork.
Sometimes the sea is a literal one – as a seafaring nation we seem to view the sea with great distrust and a healthy respect for all the dangers it can hold. We are an island community fascinated with this alien element that surrounds us. We play in it, sail on it, but we never entirely trust it. It both attracts and repels us, but at least it saves us from the horror of having a land border.
Sometimes the sea is used as a metaphor for trouble or personal difficulty – politicians are seen cast adrift on a tide of events or drowning in issues beyond their control. In cartoons the ship of state can take the form of anything from a square rigger to an ocean liner, captained by a feckless prime-minister and steered toward rocks or a turbulent ocean.
Issues of the day may be analysed with a satirical edge, or the cartoons may carry propaganda to aid the war effort.
The show is in association with The British Cartoon Archive, University of Kent, who are kindly loaning all the artwork, and forms the SEASIDE MUSEUM’S contribution to the Cartoon Festival, which itself is part of BayFest, the new Herne Bay Festival.