David Low (cartoonist)

British (Australasian) cartoonist (1891-1963)
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Sir David Alexander Cecil Low (7 April 189119 September 1963) was a New Zealand cartoonist who settled in England. His most famous creation was Colonel Blimp, a pompous, befuddled, reactionary, military buffoon.

David Low, 1947


  • Gad, sir, Lord Beaverbrook is right! A conference should be held at once for the U. S. A. to pay back the money Europe owes her.
    • Political Parade, with Colonel Blimp (London: Cresset Press, 1936); quoted in Time, July 27, 1936. [1]
  • "The scum of the earth, I believe?"
    "The bloody assassin of the workers, I presume?"
    • Evening Standard, September 20, 1939.
    • "Rendezvous", a cartoon set in the ruins of Poland showing Stalin and Hitler genially bowing to each other.
  • Very well, alone.
    • Evening Standard, June 18, 1940.
    • Published after the German capture of Paris, this shows a soldier on the British coast shaking his fist at approaching bombers. [2]
  • Gad, sir, Churchill is right. The Govt. has evidently made an irrevocable decision to be guided by circumstances with a firm hand.
    • Colonel Blimp, quoted in David G. Chandler & Ian Beckett (eds.) The Oxford History of the British Army (Oxford: OUP, 2003) p. 312.
  • I have never met anyone who wasn't against war. Even Hitler and Mussolini were, according to themselves.
    • New York Times Magazine, February 10, 1946.

Quotes about Low

  • Strube is a gentle genius. I don't mind his attacks because he never hits below the belt. Now Low is a genius, but he is evil and malicious. I cannot bear Low.
    • Stanley Baldwin, quoted in Arthur Christiansen, Headlines All My Life (1961), p. 155
  • It may well be, that the future historian, asked to point to the most characteristic expression of the English temper in the period between the two wars will reply without hesitation, "Colonel Blimp".
    • C. S. Lewis "Blimpophobia", in Time and Tide (9 September 1944)
  • [Winston Churchill]...detested David Low's politics, while admiring his skill. Low was a New Zealand Communist who was a favourite of Beaverbrook's. I found his employment inexplicable. In his own quirkish way Beaverbrook was a true patriot, yet he employed people like Frank Owen, Michael Foot and, appropriately below all, Low. Competent and talented they undoubtedly were, but the harm they did in opposing Britain's rearmament programme against Hitler is appalling. One of Low's cartoons depicted Colonel Blimp, his favourite Tory butt, exclaiming over our belated, inadequate but desperately needed arms programme of the late 1930s: 'Gad Sir, if we want to keep our place in the sun, we must darken the sky with our planes.' I would like to have confronted these gentlemen with the sight of one of our stricken airfields in the Battle of Britain. Would they have adopted for their own use Churchill's earlier saying: 'I have often eaten my own words and found them on the whole a most nourishing diet'? I doubt it.
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