George Whitelaw – cartoonist (1887-1959)

George Whitelaw was an artist and cartoonist who worked for Punch magazine in the 1920s and the Daily Herald during the Second World War.

  • Date of joining: 12 August 1909
  • Membership No: 30, Proposal Book: Ordinary Members 1908-1913, (TD965/18)

George Alexander Whitelaw was born in 1887 in Kirkintilloch in East Dunbartonshire. His father, Dr William Whitelaw, was the local Medical Officer of Health.

In 1904, at the age of 17 years, George Whitelaw joined the staff of the Glasgow Evening News as a cartoonist, doing the job whilst also studying at Glasgow School of Art under illustrator and Royal Academician Maurice Greiffenhagen. He joined the Arlington Baths when he was 22 years old.

According to Spartacus Educational, George Whitelaw served in the Tank Corps during the First World War.

Family history research shows that he was a sergeant in the Tank Corps’ Schools of Instruction at the Bovington Camp in Dorset.

After the War he worked for Punch Magazine. In 1938 he replaced Will Dyson as staff cartoonist on the left-wing newspaper The Daily Herald, where he continued to work throughout the Second World War. There’s an example of his work on a wartime propaganda poster on the Union History website.

“Described by the critic Percy V Bradshaw as ‘a first class draughtsman… with a splendid sense of character and unerring feeling for composition’, George Whitelaw contributed greatly to the British satirical response to the Second World War, working alongside contemporaries such as HM Bateman, Cyril Bird (Fougasse) and Sir David Low.”

Chris Beetles Gallery website
Pencil and ink sketch of the head of an old man on a brown paper entitled ALL SCOTCH, signed George Whitelaw and dated 1941
All Scotch, George Whitelaw, 1941. Owned by the Arlington Baths.*

George Whitelaw retired in 1949, and was replaced at the Daily Herald by David Low.

He died on 19 September 1957.

Researchers: Lindsay and Lucy

*Purchased from Gallerybs3 on eBay which described it as “This Drawing is from a large collection of original watercolours, drawings, sketches and cartoons by various members of the Savage Club, London and the London Sketch Club. Artists including Anton Lock, Bert Thomas, Victor MacClure, G.L. Stampa, Starr Wood, Alfred Praga, Tom Purvis, Arthur Moreland, Aubrey Hammond, Frank Sherwin, Arnold Beauvais, Percy V. Bradshaw, Harry Riley, George Whitelaw, B. Lawson, Fred Buchanan, Solomon van Abb, H.G. Patrickson etc.”

Gallerybs3 acquired it from auction house Dominic Winter, as part of a collection sold as Lot 91 at an auction on 7 March 2019.

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