Wednesday, June 16, 2021


Gordon Brewster, artist and cartoonist, died on this day in 1946 in my mother's shop, THE GEM, in Howth.

He was trained as an artist at the Metropolitan and he exhibited in the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1916 and 1917. He kept up his painting throughout his life but I have only been able to come up with one example of his fine art.

We are unfortunate to have been deprived of the bulk of his work through fire: first in the destruction of the Royal Hibernian Academy during the 1916 Rising and then through the destruction of what remained after his death by his estranged wife in a bonefire in the back garden of The Grove, where he lived in Sutton.

Gordon at his cartoon workdesk at the Indo

Fortunately his day job turned out to be chief cartoonist for Independent Newspapers and he has left us a collection of some 500 of his original cartoons which have been acquired by the National Library of Ireland and have now been digitised.

I have to record here my appreciation of the library staff, specifically Honora Faul who was responsible for the collection and who gave me access to it pre-digitisation, and Carol Maddock who invited me to do a post on the cartoons for the library's own blog.

In remembering Gordon's death, I thought I'd assemble a series of links to posts I have done on some of the themes that run through the cartoon collection. The collection, between 1922 and 1932, covers only a portion of his cartoon output and the themes reflect this.

Despite the limited period represented in the collection, much of his work remains timeless, and I am currently enjoying playing SNAP on Twitter: when a cartoon by someone else appears I dredge up a Brewster cartoon in response.

I hope you will take time to peruse some of these posts and come to the same conclusion as myself that we are dealing here with a serious artist whose output is informed and nuanced, but not lacking in fun.


Gordon Brewster - Timeless

Gordon Brewster and the Flu

Gordon Brewster and the 1916 Rising

Gordon Brewster and Censorship

Gordon Brewster and Northern Ireland

Gordon Brewster and Sport

Gordon Brewster and The Grove

Gordon Brewster and Our Oil

Gordon Brewster and the General Election

Gordon Brewster and Gender Equality

Gordon Brewster and the Man on the Bridge

Gordon Brewster and his Martellos

Gordon Brewster and Detail

Gordon Brewster on the Radio

Gordon with children Dolores & Richard c.1939

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