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30 Jul 2018 - 2 Sep 2018

Make Love Not War or We’ll Kill You; Prague Spring 1968 in Cartoons

Fifty years since the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia quashed the Prague Spring we look at how cartoonists in the Czech and British press interpreted the politics of the time through humour.

Armed with a stack of original 1968 satirical cartoon drawings under his arm, a collector walked through the Czech Centre London door and the idea for an exhibition was born. Fifty years ago this summer as soviet tanks supported by Warsaw pact countries rolled into Prague and crushed a heady few months of emerging political freedoms in what is known as the Prague Spring, the world looked on and leading political cartoonists on both sides of the Iron Curtain drew.

On loan from private collections, we invite you to take a peek  at how both British and Czech leading illustrators saw the politics of the time through cartoon humour; to see how both perception of events and graphic design styles differed on opposing  sides of the Iron Curtain.

The exhibition takes its name from a caricature by John Jensen which first appeared in The Sunday Telegraph and the exhibition includes works by other leading British cartoonists including Nicholas Garland, Leslie Gilbert Illingworth, Kenneth Mahood, Michael Cummings, David Myers, Jon Jones, Stanley Frankin and Emmwood (John Musgrave-Jones) all published in leading UK newspapers between March and October of 1968.

Czech cartoons are by firm favourites Jiří Jirásek, Jaroslav Malák and Miroslav Liďák who was himself sentenced to a year in prison for a public display of cartoon rebellion.

Exhibition dates: 30 July – 2 September 2018
Private View: Friday 27 July, 6.30 pm – 9.00pm - ALL WELCOME
Location: Vitrínka Gallery, Czech Centre London, 30 Kensington Palace Gardens, London, W84QY
Opening times: Mon-Fri: 10 am – 6 pm / 23 August 10 am - 7 pm

Cover image: © John Jensen, From the collection of Michael J. Coupe

Organised in collaboration with Michael J.Coupe, Jiří Jirásek, Lukáš Malák and Museum of Novojičínsko. With special thanks to Hal Jensen, Ivan Hanousek and Hana Liďáková Odry.



John Jensen (b. 1930)
was the political cartoonist for The Sunday Times from 1961 to 1979. His work has appeared in numerous publications and he was a founding member of the British Cartoonists’ Association.

Leslie Gilbert Illingworth (b.1902 – 1979) joined the The Daily Mail, in 1939 where he was chief political cartoonist throughout the Second World War and to which he contributed until 1969.

Kenneth Mahood (b.1930) is a political cartoonist, painter and collage artist. In 1966 Mahood became the first ever political cartoonist on The Times, a position he held until 1968.

 John Musgrave-Wood “Emmwood” (b.1915 – 1999)  became the political cartoonist on the Evening Standard before becoming staff cartoonist at The Daily Mail in 1956, initially as a deputy to Leslie Illingworth.

Nicholas Garland OBE (b. 1935) he was appointed the first political cartoonist of The Daily Telegraph in 1966 where he remained until 2011, with a break from 1986 to 1990 when he was one of the founding journalists of The Independent.

Michael Cummings (b.1919 - 1997) began working at  The Daily Express and followed a right-wing political line. He remained with the paper producing over 5,000 cartoons for the Daily and Sunday Express before leaving in 1990.

Stanley Franklin (1930 – 2004) became the political cartoonist at The Daily Mirror in 1959 following a stint at the Daily Herald. He remained at the Daily Mirror for eleven years.

Jon Jones (b. 1913) drew as a form of escapism after he enlisted in the forces during the second world war, eventually joining the British Army Newspaper Unit as a full-time cartoonist and was later awarded an MBE. He joined the News Chronicle which was absorbed by the Daily Mail  in October 1960, becoming the sport and front page cartoonist.

David Myers (1925 – 2007) moved to Melbourne, Australia where he worked as a pocket cartoonist before returning to London where he got a five-year contract in 1965 as Editorial Cartoonist on The Evening News. In February 1969 Myers resigned from his contract, and returned to freelance work.

Jiří Jirásek (b.1932) is primarily known as a Czech cartoonist and writer with his political cartoons of the 1968 occupation amongst his most famous work. His cartoons were banned until the fall of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia and were finally published in the book, ‘U nás’,  in 1992.  

Miroslav Liďák (1934 – 1983), also known as “Haďák”, was a Czech cartoonist, Art Editor of ABC  bi-monthly teen magazine and one of the founders of Mladý Svět, a popular weekly Czech magazine. After he was forced to leave Mladý svět in 1962 and banned from drawing cartoons he worked mainly as a freelancer doing graphics and working in the film industry.  

Jaroslav Malák (1928 – 2012) was a Czech artist and illustrator. He was known primarily for his illustration of children’s books and magazines, such as Ohníček, Mateřídouška, Sluníčko  and Čtyřlístek. He is also an author of  popular series of books about a robot called Emilián. He also drew political cartoons for satirical magazines, such as Dikobraz and Mladý svět.


Part of 

 © John Jensen, From the collection of Michael J. Coupe

 © Miroslav Liďák







Vitrínka - Czech Centre Gallery, 30 Kensington Palace Gardens, W84QY, London


From: 30 Jul 2018
To: 2 Sep 2018


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