The Bowes Museum > Exhibitions > 2015 > Milk Snatcher, Gerald Scarfe - The Thatcher Drawings

Milk Snatcher, Gerald Scarfe - The Thatcher Drawings


14 March - 7 June 2015

A remarkable exhibition which featured Gerald Scarfe’s drawings of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. This previously un-exhibited body of work by the renowned satirical cartoonist and illustrator spanned a period of 22 years, from the Iron Lady’s days as a member of the shadow cabinet through to her leadership of the Conservative Party, her tenure as Prime Minister and ultimately, her political decline.

 



First in a series of films featuring commentaries on Gerald Scarfe's works, highlighting political context & personal insights

 


The cartoons were vivid reminders of the Winter of Discontent and miners’ strike, through to the international stage with the Falklands War, the end of the Cold War and the close relations Maggie struck up with the USA. In colourful pen and ink, Thatcher is varyingly depicted as cunning, razor sharp and perversely sexual.  They depicted Thatcher in multiple guises as a shark, a chicken and an axe. Scarfe followed Thatcher’s political career with unprecedented scrutiny, pulling no punches as he exposed all the strengths and weaknesses, and seeing the original drawings allowed the opportunity to examine the relationship between undoubtedly the finest political cartoonist of our time and the best know political figure of the 20th century. These often shocking images depicted Thatcher as cunning, ruthless, mean spirited, vain, bullying, razor sharp, terrifying and sexy.

  


 

Second in a series of films featuring commentaries on Gerald Scarfe's works, highlighting political context & personal insights

This exhibition demonstrated the enormous contribution Gerald Scarfe has made to both political commentary and graphic art. The sweeping gesture of his pen stroke, his colour palette linked to the introduction of colour print at The Sunday Times and the influence he has drawn from artists such as Francis Bacon, place Scarfe as one of the finest political cartoonists of our time. His scrutiny of Thatcher’s political career and impact was particularly poignant following the general election.

 

 


 

Third in a series of films featuring commentaries on Gerald Scarfe's works, highlighting political context & personal insights

 

Milk Snatcher, Thatcher Drawings is curated by former Turner Prize judge, Greville Worthington and accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.


 


 

Fourth in a series of films featuring commentaries on Gerald Scarfe's works, highlighting political context & personal insights

For a sneak peek of this exhibition view this 360° tour 

 


Fifth in a series of films featuring commentaries on Gerald Scarfe's works, highlighting political context & personal insights

This exhibition went on tour to Barnsley Town Hall form 8 October - 2015 - 24 January 2016

The Bowes Museum grounds are open!


Due to the government announcement on Thursday 17 December, that County Durham is to remain in COVID tier 3 restrictions, The Bowes Museum unfortunately will remain closed to all visitors. However, the grounds remain open to visitors from 10.00 - 4.00 daily, and we are currently hosting a woodland fairy trail, two spring trails and outdoor guided tours are available from 29 March 2021.

As we have already been shut for a number of weeks and there is much uncertainty around possible further restrictions, we have decided to use this period to undertake some work in Café Bowes, alongside performing some much-needed structural repairs to the building, notably to the windows. January and February are usually quieter times for the Museum, often due to severe weather, so we believe that this is the best time to carry out such works with the least amount of disruption to our visitors.

We have therefore decided to remain closed for a period of four weeks following any near-future tier 2 announcement from the government, as this will allow us time to deep clean the Museum prior to reopening our doors once again. We will, of course, keep you updated as the guidelines change.

Your ongoing support during these unprecedented times is hugely appreciated and we very much look forward to welcoming you back into the building as early as possible in 2021.

We hope to be able to offer a few COVID-safe outdoor events over the coming months, about which we shall make further announcements as soon as possible.