New Exhibition of Manx Cartoonist Dusty Miller’s work now open at House of Manannan

– Posted on Monday 21st September 2015

To mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, Manx National Heritage will present a number of Harold ‘Dusty’ Miller’s wartime cartoons, in a new temporary exhibition called ‘Dusty Sees It Through’ which will open at the House of Manannan in September 2015.

‘Dusty’ was for many years a popular illustrator and cartoonist with the Isle of Man Times. Thanks to the generosity of members of Dusty’s family, Manx National Heritage is privileged to hold within its collections a large number of his original drawings.

These cartoons offer a unique perspective on the Second World War, as it was seen from the Isle of Man. Dusty was sometimes scathing in his portrayal of incompetent local authorities, but his pen ranged far and wide – Hitler and Mussolini were also frequent targets of his wit. Each cartoon will be shown alongside a commentary, explaining the background events from which Dusty drew his inspiration.

Curator of the exhibition Matthew Richardson commented:

“This is a fascinating collection and in many respects it is one man’s view of the Second World War. I found the research for the exhibition particularly interesting, because the stories which lie behind many of the cartoons are now lost in the mists of time. I had to go through the preceding week’s newspapers to piece together what was happening and to work out what Dusty was making reference to. Often there are small details in the cartoons which did not reproduce well in the newspapers of the day, but which are visible when you examine the original work.”

The content of the cartoons include depictions of the Isle of Man’s Auxiliary Fire Service, which was set up during the war, as well as references to wartime rationing. The campaign in North Africa is also well represented.

Matthew continued:

“It is also interesting to see how Dusty fitted into a long line of British cartoonists. One of his characters is reminiscent of Ally Sloper, a Victorian cartoon character who might well have been familiar to Dusty from his childhood. You can also see similarities to the work of David Low in Picture Post.”

The exhibition runs until January 2016 and admission is free.

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