The Cartoon Museum
Tucked away in the heart of historic Bloomsbury, the Cartoon Museum displays a vibrant array of original art from the 1800s to the modern day: cartoons, comics, caricatures and much more. As the home of British cartooning, the museum is the only place of its kind in the UK dedicated to collecting and displaying original British cartoons and comics.
In 1988 a group of cartoonists, collectors and lovers of the art form came together as The Cartoon Art Trust with the aim of founding a museum dedicated to collecting, exhibiting, promoting and preserving the best of British cartoon art. After a decade of exhibiting in smaller venues, in February 2006 the Cartoon Museum opened to the public at its current home in central London, just round the corner from the British Museum. The museum has three main galleries displaying original artwork from British cartoons and comics, past and present.
The historic gallery shows a changing selection of cartoons and caricatures from the foundations of British political and social cartooning to a host of current favourites by contemporary artists. From Hogarth to Heath Robinson, John Tenniel to H. M. Bateman, Matt to Steve Bell, this display continues to provide a fascinating snapshot of cartooning from its 18th century origins right up to the present day.
Upstairs, the Comics gallery displays original artwork by some of the founding fathers of British comics, such as David Law (Dennis the Menace, Beryl the Peril), Leo Baxendale (Bash St. Kids, Minnie the Minx), and Frank Hampson (Dan Dare), as well as work by leading graphic novelists including Dave Lloyd (V for Vendetta) and Dave Gibbons (Watchmen). Alongside these works, the Young Artist's Gallery hosts numerous school events and kids' workshops throughout the year, providing a space for the next generation of comic artists.
In the remaining space, a stimulating programme of temporary exhibitions have recently featured Private Eye, William Heath Robinson, Steve Bell, Giles, Pont, H.M. Bateman, Viz Comic, Ronald Searle, The Beano, Ralph Steadman and many other luminaries. Also housed in the museum is the expanding The Heneage Library, containing over 6,000 books on cartoons and comics, as well as thousands of comics from the 1890s to the present day. Access to the library is available by appointment. The Cartoon Museum Shop stocks more than 900 books on the history of cartoons and comic-strips, graphic novels and children’s books, and a wide range of cards, posters, prints and cartoon-related novelty gifts.