Skip to main content

Tom Merry: Our Infant Hercules

The late 19th Century saw a chorus line of leading politicians lampooned by the new school of satirical cartoonists. Randolph Churchill MP, was, for a brief interlude the ‘man who would be King'. Full of vim and vigour, he inspired the 1885 Conservative electoral renaissance that dethroned the Liberals. In Tom Merry's cartoon, he's depicted as a mock-Herculean figure holding the Tories up by the sheer power of his own self-importance. Churchill's Parliamentary career was not born to last and he hastily retired from politics to breed racehorses. Merry's cartoon was published in the St Stephens Review a colourful periodical that rivalled Punch Magazine for popularity. This era could be defined as a satire scene with numerous publications being published weekly or quarterly usually costing One Penny at the news-stand. They included long-forgotten titles such as The Penny Satirist and Funny Folks.