Ref NoMC0173
Alt Ref NoMC0173
Artist or CreatorMichael Cummings
Title or CaptionCummings has a New Year's delightful dream nightmare [If the French election technique crosses the channel.. crossed out]
Extent1 item
Published byDaily Express
Date02 Jan 1956
Size29 x 43.5cm
Techniqueink/blue crayon
Embedded text or transcriptPoliticians Union
1. Squeeze Middle Classes out of existence
2. More Lies
3. Bigger + better 'Crichel Downs'
4. Fourteen month rule
Person DepictedBevan; Aneurin (1897-1960)
Butler; Richard Austen (Rab) (1902-1982); Baron Butler of Saffron Walden
Eden; Anthony, (1897-1977); Earl of Avon,
Macmillan; Harold (Maurice Harold) (1894-1986); 1st Earl of Stockton
Gaitskell; Hugh (1906-1963)
Lloyd; Selwyn, (1904-1978)
Shinwell; Emmanuel (1884-1986)
Crookshank; Henry (1893-1961); 1st Viscount Crookshank
Attlee; C. R. (Clement Richard) (1883-1967)
Dalton; Hugh (1916-1964)
NotesIn December 1955 Pierre Mendès-France, the former French Prime Minister, had been electioneering in France, and his meetings had repeatedly been disrupted. According to The Times, "A regular team of trouble-makers has been following M Mendès-France from place to place, and he has on several occasions had need of his bodyguard - and his own fists - to protect him." (31 Dec. 1955, p.5 col.5, "M Mendès-France Pursued by Team of Trouble-Makers").
First published in BBC History Magazine: "Sometimes the most interesting aspects of a political cartoon do not relate to its subject matter. In December 1955, election meetings held by the former French Prime Minister, Pierre Mendès-France, were regularly broken up by an organised gang of protestors. Mendès-France fought them off with his fists, and Michael Cummings of the Daily Express imagined how British politicians would face the same onslaught. His cartoon of 2 January 1956 showed an angry mob dragging Harold Macmillan off the platform, while Aneurin Bevan was tossed in the air, Rab Butler was stuffed in a bucket and sprinkled with pepper, and Hugh Gaitskell was hit with a tomato. In the centre the Prime Minister, Anthony Eden, was having his trousers ripped off.
However, this was not how the cartoon first appeared. The Daily Express cartoonists delighted in teasing the editorial staff, and Carl Giles, who joined the paper in 1943, became adept at hiding things in the detail of his cartoons. A Daily Express boy messenger later recalled one of his first jobs on the paper:
I went to Liverpool Street station by bus to collect Carl Giles's cartoon off the Ipswich train. Curiosity bubbled when I took the original up to the Daily Express features department and the subs studied it this way and that. "What are they looking for?" I whispered. "The rude bits to blank out," I was told. Giles was sometimes guilty of deliberately hiding penile shapes, nippled breasts and French letters in the drawn details. The dense foliage of trees was always a major cause of anxiety.
Cummings, who joined the paper in 1949, attempted to go one better. On the day his electioneering cartoon appeared, the Daily Express layout man Harold Keeble sent Giles a cutting from the first edition of the paper, to show how Eden had originally looked. "You will see that I have trouble with other cartoonists as well", he told Giles, adding "it was necessary to carry out some pretty spectacular surgery between the first and third editions last night." As Cummings had hoped, amid the mass of detail the sub-editors had failed to notice the embarrassing bulge in Eden's shirt-front."
French Revolution
Historical periods and persons
Social attitudes
Trades unions
Copyright contact
Location of artworkReturned to Beaverbrook Foundation, 1998
Relates to cartoonMC0173

Show related Persons records.

GB/BCA/107Bevan; Aneurin (1897-1960)1897-1960   
GB/BCA/131Butler; Richard Austen (Rab) (1902-1982); Baron Butler of Saffron Walden1902-1982   
GB/BCA/216Eden; Anthony, (1897-1977); Earl of Avon1897-1977   
GB/BCA/497Macmillan; Harold (Maurice Harold) (1894-1986); 1st Earl of Stockton1894-1986   
GB/BCA/316Gaitskell; Hugh (1906-1963)1906-1963   
GB/BCA/942Lloyd; Selwyn, (1904-1978)1904-1978   
GB/BCA/258Shinwell; Emanuel (1884-1986)1884-1986   
GB/BCA/1290Crookshank; Henry (1893-1961); 1st Viscount Crookshank1893-1961   
GB/BCA/82Attlee; C. R. (Clement Richard) (1883-1967)1883-1967   
GB/BCA/185Dalton; Hugh (1916-1964)1916-1964   
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