Giles: Iconic British cartoons publicly accessible for the first time
The largest collection of British social and political cartoons goes live online today thanks to the work of the British Cartoon Archive (BCA) housed at the University of Kent. This Jisc-funded project will enable free access to over 120,000 images from 250 leading cartoonists including work by Ralph Steadman, Martin Rowson and Steve Bell. A key part of the archive comprises the Carl Giles Collection (1916-1995) and includes original cartoons, sketches, letters and documents from arguably the most famous cartoonist of his generation and creator of the much-loved ‘Giles Family’.
'The online archive is a wonderful resource for researchers, historians and cartoonists.’ - Award-winning cartoonist Steve Bell
The launch of the new website coincides with the ‘Giles - One of the Family’ exhibition, running at the London Cartoon Museum from 5 November 2008 to 15 February 2009, which includes colour covers, drawings never reproduced in the annuals and a recreation of Giles’ studio complete with desk, drawing board and reference material (this Giles cartoon is from an Express Christmas card in 1984 © Express Syndication/ BCA). Visitors will also be able to visit the BCA kiosk at the exhibition and explore online the wealth of material available on the new website.
Dr Nicholas Hiley, Head of The British Cartoon Archive at the University of Kent, said: 'Whether you are a cartoon fan or an academic interested in using the archive content for teaching and research purposes the new website provides the widest possible access to the most important collection of British newspaper cartooning.'
Sarah Porter, Head of Innovation at Jisc, said: 'The BCA team has been working tirelessly since January 2007 to digitise this extensive collection. Jisc and its partners are dedicated to creating online resources that inspire, motivate and foster new collaborations across higher, further education and research to preserve the history of our nation for future generations. The new online archive provides a unique resource, rich in content and fully accessible for everyone to enjoy and benefit from the work of Britain’s most influential cartoonists.'