A Little Book of Cardus Cartoons

Published: 2024
Pages: 42
Author: Hilton, Bob
Publisher: Max Books
Rating: 4 stars

Just as you began to wonder whether there was anything new that The Neville Cardus Archive could say about their man they have produced this gem. It is particularly fitting that the source of it is the vivid imagination which, so the non-believers will tell you, undermines rather than enhances the quality of his writing.

Did I ever know that the young Cardus had ambitions to be an artist? It seems he said so when asked on an appearance on Desert Island Discs in the 1970s, which I would certainly have listened to, and it is mentioned in his autobiography, which as a youngster I certainly read. Perhaps as a teenager I was simply so taken with his writing that other career paths that may have been open to him simply weren’t sufficiently memorable for me to be able to recall them almost half a century later.

But I was quickly reminded of his abilities by A Little Book of Cardus Cartoons. Regrettably it seems that no examples of ‘serious’ Cardus artwork survive, but there are a number of the cartoons, relating to both of Cardus’s passions, cricket and music.

My own impression, as a great Arthur Mailey enthusiast, has always been that the key to recognising a decent cartoonist is that they can make it obvious who they are drawing with just a few strokes of a pen, and if that is indeed the correct measure of quality then Cardus achieves it comfortably.

As to Cardus’s favourite subjects as far as cricket is concerned that is definitely the Australian spin bowler Clarrie Grimmett, who gets a chapter to himself. There are also many musical subjects, and to my mind the caricature of pianist Solomon Cutner is a particular striking example of a caricaturist’s skills.

All told Bob Hilton has gathered together 33 of Cardus’s cartoons, and linked them together with an excellent commentary. He has also reproduced a further seven examples of other cartoonists impressions of Cardus, three by Mailey, and the well known one that graces the cover of The Playfair Cardus amongst them.

In conjunction with the Neville Cardus Archive Max Books have been publishing new material about the great man for some years, all in nicely produced limited editions. Not all our are still available but this one, published in an edition of 100 copies is and, if for no other reason than its unusual subject matter is probably the best. A Little Book of Cardus Cartoons is available directly from the publisher as, at reduced prices, are some of the others*.


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