Cartoonist Norman Thelwell Saves the Planet

Cartoon Museum

Norman Thelwell Saves the Planet

English cartoonist Norman Thelwell is perhaps best known now for his humorous drawings of chubby ponies and pony club girls but he was also keenly interested in the environment as the Cartoon Museum in London reveals in its new exhibition marking the 100th year of his birth.

Norman Thelwell Saves the Planet comes as his 13th book The Effluent Society (1971) is reissued by Quiller Publishing, a collection of his work from Punch magazine where he appeared regularly and focuses on themes of ecology, pollution, and how our modern way of life has had a decidedly mixed impact on our planet.

Thelwell (1923-2004) loved the countryside and wrote two cartoon-less memoirs about his rural life restoring an old farmhouse and its grounds in Somerest and Cornwall, A Plank Bridge by a Pool and A Millstone Round My Neck, but he always said that The Effluent Society was the one that gave him the most personal satisfaction.

According to the museum: "There’s a fine history of cartooning being used for public messaging whether that be for health of the body, mind or planet. That’s because where some more scientific communication may be harder to decipher, cartoons are and always will be accessible and engaging."

The exhibition also features some of his countryside watercolours, original art materials, his drawing desk, diaries, and a work calendar indicating his monthly workload.

Norman Thelwell Saves the Planet runs through September 4, 2023.