Cartoon Cafe will showcase world’s finest original works

Timothy Benson cartoon historian, Feb 8th 2012 E06071N
Timothy Benson cartoon historian, Feb 8th 2012 E06071N
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THE BEST political cartoons from Britain and around the world will be on show in Eastbourne at a new gallery and cafe.

This summer will see the opening of the Cartoon Cafe which will showcase and sell some of the finest original political cartoons and caricatures from past and present.

Dr Tim Benson, a cartoon historian and the founding member of the Political Cartoon Society, is behind the exciting new attraction.

He promises exhibitions from some of the biggest names in the business, including The Guardian’s Steve Bell, Chris Riddell from The Observer, and Giles, the late and much-loved Daily Express cartoonist.

The site of the gallery is a disused convenience store in Seaside which Tim is currently refurbishing.

Tim, a former Eastbourne College and Eastbourne F.E College student, has up until now traded in London, but with a growing online customer base he is now keen to set up a permanent base in Eastbourne, with the emphasis on exhibiting rather than selling.

He told the Herald, “I think it’ll be a bit of coup for the town and I think Eastbourne is a superb place to set something like this up.

“When you are in central London you are competing with all the big institutions and big galleries and there’s obviously so much more going on everywhere and it’s difficult to get any coverage or attention.”

The gallery’s opening exhibition, The Cold War in Cartoons, will feature the work of Stalin’s favourite cartoonist Boris Efimov.

The cartoons provide a visual history of the fraught relations between East and West from post-war to the fall of Communism in 1991.

An exhibition of Steve Bell’s recent Guardian cartoons of Prime Minister David Cameron is also in the pipeline, which Tim said could “ruffle a few feathers in Eastbourne”.

Although, he admits Eastbourne isn’t quite the Conservative hinterland it was once was, a fact proved by the town’s current Lib Dem MP Stephen Lloyd, whose office, by happy coincidence, is next door to the new gallery.

Tim said, “We (the Political Cartoon Society) have published books on both the Conservative and the Labour Party, and we’re also working on one for the Lib Dems, and being directly next door to the MP, I couldn’t do anything else really could I?”

Every cartoonist who exhibits in the cafe will also contribute to a giant mural, and an interactive gallery is also planned where visitors will be able to access 3,000 cartoons on a state-of-the-art LED screen.

To get a flavour of what Eastbourne can look forward to, visit