Giles Collection To Be Digitised By British Cartoon Archive

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 04 October 2007
black and white photo of a man sitting in a studio with his arms folded

Giles in his studio. Courtesy the British Cartoon Archive

One of Britain’s favourite cartoonists is to be the subject of a major online archive in a £1m digitisation project at the University of Kent’s British Cartoon Archive.

Giles, who worked for the Daily Express and Sunday Express from 1943 to 1991, is recognised as having had considerable influence on the style of British social and political cartooning. His lovable characters included the rotund Grandma, and was remembered in the Press Gazette’s Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2005.

After his death in 1995, his archive – containing 6,000 original drawings, 5,750 printed cartoons, 2,750 glass negatives of cartoons and 2,300 cartoon proofs – was transferred from his Ipswich studio to the University in two removal lorries. There is also a vast archive of correspondence detailing his working life over more than 50 years.

black and white cartoon of a plump elderly lady in a fox stole and holding an umbrella and handbag

Giles' Grandma. Courtesy the British Cartoon Archive

The archive, which has an estimated value of £10m, will now be digitised over the course of two years thanks to funding from the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC). A full time archivist has been appointed to organise and catalogue the collection.

“We are immensely grateful to the Giles Cartoon Trustees for their generosity in depositing this unique collection at the British Cartoon Archive,” said Dr Nick Hiley, Head of the British Cartoon Archive.

“At the end of the two-year project, the entire collection of almost 17,000 separate cartoons will be freely available as part of the online resources of the British Cartoon Archive.”

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