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28 April 2023

Norman Thelwell saves the planet - opens today

Just a reminder that this opens today...

News just in from the Cartoon Museum about the next major exhibition, let's see what the have to say...

Next month, The Cartoon Museum will open a new exhibition that is a timely celebration of Norman Thelwell's life and his eco-conscious work in his book The Effluent Society. The opening of this exhibition neatly coincides with the centennial celebration of his birth and the re-publishing of the book.

Norman Thelwell Saves the Planet

Friday 28 April – Sunday 3 September 2023

It’s 100 years since Thelwell was born and we’re STILL *#!?ing up the planet!

Published in 1971, The Effluent Society by Norman Thelwell spoke about modern life and how the progress of humanity has led to us having an impact on the world. Many climate experts have struggled to impart the same love for our natural world that his work was able to. In his own words: ‘I was a sort of an unofficial country cartoonist, doing funny drawings that involved birds, cattle, pigs and poultry. One day I did a pony drawing and it was like striking a sensitive nerve. The response was instantaneous.’ Thelwell’s love for the countryside was front and centre in The Effluent Society. His words and art read as a hilarious but heartfelt message to look after the spaces we love and the world we live in, and in many ways predicted the issues that we face in 2023 and beyond.

The Cartoon Museum is celebrating this important work in 2023 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Thelwell’s birth. Over 50 years since this book was written, The Cartoon Museum takes the torch that Thelwell was trying to pass on. There’s a fine history of cartooning being used for public messaging whether that be for health of the body, mind or planet. That’s because where some more scientific communication may be harder to decipher, cartoons are and always will be accessible and engaging. 

We’ve come together with a number of modern day cartoonists and environmentalists to create art and messages about what needs to be done to support climate recovery and carbon neutrality across Britain and the world. We will display their work alongside alongside a bounty of original Thelwell cartoons, plus some of his countryside watercolours and original art materials and references, to inspire the next generation of doodlers and “direct-actioners” to pick up their notebooks and make a change. Because we think Thelwell was right. And we believe he, and you, could save the world.

We’ve also used this opportunity to change how we do things here in The Cartoon Museum. So far, we have:

Elected a Green Guardian for the museum!

Been selected to participate in London Mayor Sadiq Khan's Business Climate Challenge!

Used a carbon tracker to see how much effect on the planet each of our exhibitions is making!

And we will be using as many recycled or re-used materials as possible to make this installation as carbon-neutral as we can!

About Norman Thelwell
Born 3 May 1923 in Birkenhead, Cheshire, Norman Thelwell was an avid artist even as a child with his earliest surviving drawing being a pencil self-portrait at the age of 10. His teacher has marked on the picture in red ink: ‘V. good indeed’. His love of the British countryside also blossomed in his childhood, stimulated by frequent visits to a North Wales farm. When he joined the army in 1941, he travelled everywhere with a sketchbook and the first cartoon he had published was of an Indian subject for the London Opinion. He started a 25 year long stint with Punch in 1952 and over that time he produced over 1,500 individual cartoons and 60 front covers for the magazine. Thelwell also published 34 books in his lifetime which sold over 2 million copies in the UK as well as being translated into multiple different languages. For the later portion of his life he made his home in Timsbury, restoring a farmhouse so that he could be surrounded by his beloved countryside.

About The Cartoon Museum
The Cartoon Museum champions cartoon and comic art, highlighting its importance to culture and society. Since 2006 it has received 420k visitors, and built a nationally important collection of 4,300 cartoons, comics and caricatures, and a library of 18k items. It runs a well-attended school programme and sell-out school holiday workshops, and over 50k children and adults have attended cartooning, comics and animation workshops at the museum.

For more information visit / Twitter @cartoonmuseumuk / Facebook @TheCartoonMuseum  / Instagram @thecartoonmuseum / YouTube - The Cartoon Museum 

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