Bruce Bairnsfather Plate

Perhaps the greatest cartoonist of the First World War was Bruce Bairnsfather, who created the iconic character of ‘Old Bill’, a curmudgeonly old soldier with a walrus moustache. Bairnsfather had been in the military during peacetime, but resigned in 1907 to become an artist. In 1914 he re-joined and was posted as a second lieutenant to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He started drawing humorous cartoons for the Bystander magazine featuring doleful British Tommys and these quickly became iconic characters. His cartoons were rapidly gathered together in a series of books called ‘Fragments from France’ and a range of merchandise based on his characters ensued. Tonight we have a plate that was produced in World War One depicting one of his cartoons:imageThe cartoon itself is in the centre of the plate and is a reproduction of one of Bairnsfather’s more popular designs:imageThis plate was produced by Grimswade and their mark is on the rear:imageOther Bairnsfather collectables include car mascots, metal ashtrays and model busses as well as jigsaws and film posters. Whilst in the past I have picked up the odd postcard and I have been given a few of the ‘Fragments from France’ booklets, this is my first piece of Bairnsfather china and I am very pleased with it. There is some slight damage in the form of a small chip on one edge, but as it is 100 years old, I think we can forgive it a little damage!

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