Gerald Scarfe's political cartoons are going up for auction at Sotheby's

Gareth Richman, Jessie Thompson
Gerald Scarfe

The first major sale of drawings by prominent political cartoonist Gerald Scarfe is taking place at Sotheby’s in London tomorrow (April 5).

Over 130 drawings will form part of the sale of Scarfe’s work, who has been The Sunday Times’ political cartoonist for over 50 years and has had his work featured in Private Eye and the New Yorker.

The lots feature provocative portraits of politicians from Winston Churchill to Theresa May, making up over half a century satirical observations and insight into political history. It also features caricatures of celebrity figures from David Beckham to Mick Jagger, as well as previously unseen works.

Scarfe said that when creating the drawings in the privacy of his own home, he often didn’t think about the fact they will be reprinted thousands of times and seen the world over. “To me these are not only drawings, they are memories, and mark particular moments in my life,” he said.

The sale charts a brilliant and varied career, also including Scarfe’s theatre work, his collaborations with Pink Floyd, and his film work on Disney’s Hercules.

The star lot is a 1964 drawing of an elderly Winston Churchill, which was commissioned by The Times for his final House of Commons appearance but deemed too controversial to publish. It was printed on the cover of Private Eye when Churchill died six months later, and has since been displayed at Portcullis House.

The sale takes place at Sotheby’s London on April 5; sothebys.com

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