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Political cartoon featuring 'Capital' and 'Competition'

Walter Crane (1845-1915)

c.1900

WCA.1.8.63

Title Political cartoon featuring 'Capital' and 'Competition'
Object type Drawing
Date c.1900
Artist/maker Walter Crane (1845-1915)
Support Cardboard
Medium Pencil
Dimensions h:241 w:151
Accession number WCA.1.8.63

Walter Crane: Political Cartoons: Object 44693

A slightly altered version of this design features as an illustration to 'A Child's Socialist Reader', 1907.

Walter Crane: Political Cartoons: Object 44693

A slightly altered version of this design features as an illustration to 'A Child's Socialist Reader', 1907.

Exhibition: Art and Labour's Cause is One: Object Label: WCA.1.8.63

Crane also illustrated avowedly political books for children, as socialists created new legends for young readers. “Capital and Competition” accompanies the fairy tale “Happy Valley” in A. A. Watts’s The Child’s Socialist Reader. Crane focuses on the villain: the giant Monopoly accompanied by his dwarf minions, Capital and Competition. Crane relies on anti-Semitic stereotypes of facial profile to caricature the dwarfs. Certain factions of the British socialist movement subscribed to this unfortunate prejudice, most notably H. M. Hyndman, leader of the Social Democratic Federation. The giant is a corpulent parody of found in many of Crane’s designs, including his illustrations for Jack and the Beanstalk, displayed nearby.

Walter Crane (1845-1915)

Born in Liverpool, Crane is best known as a prolific designer and book illustrator. In 1871 after his marriage he spent two years in Italy. He was a member of the Royal Institute from 1882 to 1886 but resigned inorder to become a member of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1889. In later life Crane was a committed Socialist and follower of William Morris.Walter Crane is well known for his accomplishments in illustration, painting and design. At the age of 13, he became the apprentice of the wood-engraver William James Linton, after which time he became a nursery-book illustrator. Crane drew subjects from his book illustrations for his designs. These complicated patterns often included the motifs of figures, animals and birds. Crane designed wallpapers for Jeffery and Co. between 1874 and 1912. His textile designs were produced by companies such as Liberty, Wardle and Co., Birch, Gibson & Co., and John Wilson. Crane was well-connected in the art world in Great Britain and abroad. He knew William Morris and designed a tapestry for Morris & Co. He attended meeting of The Fifteen from 1882, which later merged with the students of Norman Shaw to become the Art Workers' Guild in 1888. In 1888, Crane became the Master of Guild as well as the President of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, of which he was a founder member, and through which he regularly exhibited. Crane also became the Director of Design at Manchester Municipal College in 1893 and the Principal of the Royal College of Art in 1898. In addition to extensive lecturing, Crane wrote books about design theory such as The Bases of Design (1898) and Line and Form (1900).