How I invented the political cartoon
The first political
cartoon is generally thought to be 'Join or Die' which was written by Ben Franklin in 1754 during the French and Indian war.
I had him beat by 170 years in both quality and content.
The following information is unknown. To my knowledge I'm the first person to bring it to light, at least in the last 400+ years.
I started out with an old painting of Henry VIII and his family
Actually, I only used the right third of the painting which had princess Elizabeth in it...
...and then I redrew it in pen and ink as this cartoon, with me as
Peace. Notice the instruments of war being crushed beneath possibly the hippest feet of the 16th century.
was when I was a Chamberlady to Queen Elizabeth and her personal scribe or secretary.* My name at the time was Anne Vavasour but most people
thought it was 'write-this-down'.
Queen Elizabeth hated the old painting however she liked my new one a lot. She called it an allegory of an allegory and concluded that
with enough allegories her family started to appear to be normal.
(That is a hard thing to do when your father chopped off your mother's
It was actually two years earlier that I started drawing cartoons. In fact I invented the political cartoon as we know today with all the common elements including parody, caricature,
metaphor, and satire. They were also funny and also had lots of hidden
content so I simultaneously invented another form of cartoon. The
cartoon that children love which has hidden content.
This one cartoon
has three levels of whimsy added one on top of another other. (I found the cartoon here in
probably the best internet collection of Queen Elizabeth's paintings.)
Notice at the
bottom there appears to be a line of heraldry, like a coat of arms,
signifying the royal
nature of the court of Queen Elizabeth except there is no heraldry that
is as long as that one That one extends all the way across the bottom of the
drawing and that is unheard of. If you look closer you will see numbers on them like the
number '3' on one of them and that means it has to be
something other than heraldry. What is it?
we used candles for footlights in the theater they went across the
floor like in the picture at the right. They were almost, but
not quite out of view of the audience like in both pictures. And the
numbers? They all had numbers on them so when one candle had to have
it's wick trimmed a person called a snuffer did the trimming. However, he was
in front (down in the orchestra pit) and could not see which candle needed
trimming so one of the actors would hold up fingers to indicate which candle
to trim or to have him redirect the lamp like to Juliet's
balcony in Romeo and Juliet.
Remember these words: All the
worlds a stage, And all the men and women merely players?
Those lights were my way of saying that Queen Elizabeth's royal
court was all a production put on for the world. I can attest to
the fact that those fancy dresses and the pageantry was all part of a show put
on by the world's prettiest and smartest geek.
The world was indeed her stage.
style of my drawing was one that I invented
important issues and themes are made larger than life. They have named
this style in the last 400 years and it is now called 'caricature'. My
nose, my quill, how Queen Elizabeth leads by the hand. Because these
important each are increased in size until my nose is bizarrely
pointed, my quill is the largest in England and Elizabeth is about to
pull me right off my feet (which she did to everyone if your feet were
the right direction when she took you by the hand and dragged you off
that people could not ignore the phallic symbolism of the huge quill there
was the real implied use of large feathers which were often then as now used for sexual foreplay. Then so
that people could not ignore both of those symbolisms look a bit
and you will notice that my fingers are pointed at my very un real
That thing on it is what we called a mitt or a sock. It was like a penis sock with a string. It was for a man to tie
to his waist so that his member would not fall out of his codpiece.
If a man wore a codpiece, which were hard and had sharp edges, without a mitt
their penis might fall out of it and then they were in danger
of it getting chopped off if their codpiece got pushed hard against their body. Such would occur if they got
kicked in the groin or landed on a saddle the wrong way or even if
their horse pulled up short and they were thrust against the horse's
neck. So it was very important to have their mitt tied but for me it was my flag of power and independence.
The slang that went with it was more important. 'A man who doesn't bother to
tie his mitt' means an arrogant man who doesn't
worry about getting kicked in the groin.
That also goes for women who drew cartoons.
At his own peril a man might ignore my pen but that penis is hard to ignore. I knew exactly what I was drawing and I was an expert at knowing what effects such elements in a drawing would have on people.
you notice the woman in the picture to the right of me and how
looks like a horses head made from vegetables? I've outlined it on
the right. You can't see all the lines in the original since this scan only picked up
the darkest ones and the ink has faded in 400 years. It's both a
head and it's made of vegetables which made it a double optical
illusion. (which only means
that very few people caught it).
Then to add another level the horse is eating from a bowl of
apples. Yes, it is very important. I have always said that when you
catch vegetables eating fruit it should always be immediately
brought to the attention of the proper authorities.
This part of the drawing is a
satire of those absurd old paintings of Giuseppe Arcimboldo
from the 1530's which had vegetables made into faces. I hated them with a
was the pop art of the day and they remind me a lot of those
tawdry black velvet Elvis paintings. Oh, you like those? Then you can have your choice of 63 Elvis's here.
People would often serve
dinners with the food arranged in happy faces. They even cut the meat
in the shape of the animal. Steaks were cut in the shape of cows,
rabbits looked like small rabbits with ears of sliced carrots, the fish
had fins of oysters, etc. The best were chickens since feathers could
be made out of all sorts of sliced vegetables.
|Fairs all over England held contests offering expensive prizes for the best looking piles of fruit and vegetables.
I got so fed up with mans inhumanity to the vegetable kingdom that
twice I entered the fairs as a protest. I made my first entry a satire
which was supposed to be a mockery of the genre so I had a male
friend enter it for me. It was at the second largest fair in London. It was considered the most important fair in England
because of it's royal sponsorship and it had a strong regal presence.
have sewage being thrown from houses into the streets of London
then you also have men taking a short cut and urinating directly out of windows. In London it was a very familiar sight which
thoroughly disgusted most women (probably because we were not able to
So I made a mans midsection of fruit and vegetables framed by a window
sill of olives. I used two green pomegranates, etc as you can see
in the profile (on the left) with a yellow stemmed leek as a penis and pee.
The judges took my entry very seriously. There were about 50 entries and I won second prize.
I was exposed when I had to accept the prize.
It was a flock of geese which I promptly gave to a home for young
children. These were mainly highly eligible young women whose husbands
had died of the plague, smallpox and malaria. Their main problem rested
with meeting single men. The women took turns herding the geese and
used them to meet
eligible men (many whose wives had died of disease) in the countryside
around London. Dozens of these wonderful women found husbands this way.
I knew what I was doing.
The next year I redeemed myself when I made a fire
breathing dragon fighting with a unicorn which won third place. It used
chopped up pieces of that new and unique fruit from the new world
called 'Red Pepper' for the dragon's fiery breath. Everyone was amazed
when they tasted it. It messed up my presentation to do so but I gave out about 600 samples. A few had
tasted mustard but it seems only about ten people had ever tasted a
pepper. Peppers became common items in the London markets after that.
horse was my signature image. I put one in all my cartoons until I ended up spending more time
figuring out how to integrate horses into drawings than I spent
drawing the the rest of it. I got even with the people that
insisted on me putting them in by making them so hard to find that they had to spend a long time locating them.
It is like men now spend hours looking
bunny ears on each Playboy
Magazine cover. My hidden trademark beat out Playboy by 350 years and the scantily covered male
genitalia beat out Playgirl by 370 years.
There is one other hidden item.
the left in the background of the sketch (left) is a young page handing a
sword to a large tapestry which covers the wall but in the original the
page is actually bowing to King Henry VIII (right). If you look closely at that
tapestry in the sketch you will notice that it is actually King
Henry VIII complete with sleeves but minus his physical hand. That is
symbolic of the reputation of Queen Elizabeth's larger than life
father, the great King Henry VIII, looming over everyone. She and
others (including yours truly) swore that his spirit was almost always
around her court. It was also said that his spirit drove Queen (Bloody)
Mary insane when she did not live up to his reputation. However, that was
before my time therefore I cannot confirm such speculation.
His reputation was not really larger than life since his achievements
were real. His feat at the 'Field of the Cloth of Gold' was one
example. Using a long bow he repeatedly hit a target at 220 yards which
only one of the highly trained French archers could ever equal.
Once, six of his guards were killed by two assassins who invaded his
castle in order to assassinate him late at night. He heard the sword
fight outside of his bedroom door and realized there were only two of
them. He also realized they must have been the best swordsmen in Europe
since they had killed his own guards who were the best in
England. Rather than escape out his hidden passageway or try to defend
himself with a sword he hid behind the door with the heavy 7 foot tall
(3 ½ feet longer than the invaders swords) wrought iron candle
stand that normally took two men to move. When the two assassins burst
through the door King Henry VIII used the candle stand as a giant club
and beat both of them to death! His reign was a tough act to follow and
the tapestry was symbolic of it.
liked these cartoons. At least for awhile until she saw one I made of
her riding bareback with too big of a smile on her face but it
wasn't even near finished when she snatched it from me. The problem was
that I had not put the horse in yet and she thought it was going to
involve a man. Like I said, I was running out of horse ideas and it made real horse
sense for me to add her mount later.
I think that was pretty much the end of my career as the world's first political cartoonist.
If I did this cartoon work today I'd just be another one of 10,000 cartoonists, but
nobody else drew cartoons 400 years ago.
is hard to even get a grasp on how earth shattering these cartoon were when they were first seen.
Nothing like cartoons of kings had ever been seen before. Nobody had a perspective or knew what to
even think about these pen and ink insults within a diagram.
Words could get a ruler very angry such as if you talked about a kings
pregnant unmarried daughter. You could end up on trial and then find your head on a chopping block but
what could that king do when his unmarried daughter was in an English cartoon showing a
bulging waist and a midwife standing near her? Where did he go from there? Words could start a war but what
about the picture of the preggers daughter made by the personal
secretary to the Queen of England?
made them of Spain's Royalty, the French's, the German's even the
Swedes and a few Russians. Then I gave them to the ambassadors... of
enemies. Then the German Ambassador kept wanting cartoons of their own
rulers which took away half the fun of it.
England was considered a
dead end assignment so the Ambassadors often hated their own rulers. The Germans were no exception.
Here is another sketch I drew. It is now in the British Museum. I found it on the same page here.
This is only about half finished so there is no horse. Did you notice
that her shawl is a fishes tail? And that there is a phoenix in the background
but what I mainly want to point out to you is the snake and the puppy
on the column. I put them there so that I could add
leaves to hide them. The snake was to become a vine while the
dogs ears became leaves. That is how you hide animals in pictures. You
draw them first and then add other elements to confuse the eye instead
of putting in the animals as a finishing touch.
This drawing is
unfinished. It got left behind and then lost when we went hunting stags
across the English countryside. At the time I wondered what had happened to it.
Say, you don't suppose the British Museum would want me to finish it for them?
Until I wrote this page nobody really knew who had drawn these sketches. They are attributed to Federigo Zuccaro by Horace Walpole in the late 1700's but that is not Zuccaro's style. I'm backed up by the Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs which states very
"A similar careless statement by Wadpole lead to the bulk of the fine
portraits in the reign of Elizabeth being attributed with absurd
recklessness to Federigo Zuccaro." Here
"Many anonymous portraits of the period are improbably attributed to him." Here
just amazes me how a statement like that of Walpole, who was trying to
make a name for himself, was only made about a hundred
years ago. He made a guess based on absolutely no logic which became a hard fact in
just about everyone's mind. It is obviously untrue. Unfortunately now almost everyone is closed off to
All you need to do is look at any one of Zuccaro's known sketches
(left) and you will see it is simply not at all his style. He could not
have made them. His style is closer to Botticelli's and lacks the
detail that is evident in my sketches.
For lack of a better way to describe them my sketches are far more petite and detailed than Zuccaro's.
They date these sketches at 1574 because that was the only time
Federigo was in England and they were attributed to him by Walpole because he is the only person in Queen Elizabeth's court known to have drawn
wrong and I am about to prove he could not have drawn these sketches by several methods.
collar on the queen's dress of my first sketch is my most solid proof. That kind of high flat collar did not exist until after
the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 which was a dozen years after
Zuccaro left England. About 1595 is when those high collars were most in vogue. Just check the collars and the dates on these many dated paintings of Queen Elizabeth and confirm it yourself. The one in my first sketch is almost identical to the dress that Elizabeth is wearing in her famous Rainbow Painting
(see right) which simply everyone at Hatfield House Museum knows is
dated at 1600. Federigo left England in 1574 so it simply cannot
have been drawn by him. In 1574 all the collars were small like
in the Darnley portrait
(see left). Then they started growing to an over sized accordion plait about 1585
and then they got even bigger until the accordion plait maximized about 1596. It was only in about 1590 that the queen
started occasionally wearing the large thin flat style of collars.
The small collar of the second drawing was always in style so I can't use it as proof. Don't get me
wrong, Federigo was a nice man and he did teach me some techniques
about mixing oil colors but he did not make those sketches or else I
would have told you so.
In fact although this information doesn't conclusively prove that I drew
the sketches my ability
to so easily and logically disprove the belief that Federigo drew the first one
shows that I
could very well have drawn both of them. My intimate knowledge of them
shows that I have information that only the artist knows. I guess in the end you will just have to believe me when I tell you that I drew them in a past life when I was known as Anne Vavasour.
If all this is a strain on your mind then briefly put yourself in my position. I am single
heterosexual male American engineer who lives in Arizona,
who has not studied Tudor English History for even so much as a day and
never visited England. Yet I just clarified an issue involving art
using 400+ year
old clothing fashions from memory as my proof. I am possibly more of an expert
on Elizabethan fashion (and pretty much everything else from this period of history) than anyone else alive today and yet in this life I
helpless when it comes to matching or mending my own socks.
was an respectable one of clerk or secretary. The next ruler of England, King
James, made this position officially that of a Secretary of State.
After we were married Robert Cecil was listed officially as Secretary
of State (from July 5, 1590 onward) but the quill in my sketch strongly
suggests that I was the queens primary secretary. Queen Elizabeth felt that it
would create problems if it were known that I was her secretary. One worry was that I
might be kidnapped but the main thought then was that a
woman would be too emotional and lack the objectivity to write proper court records.
How absurd, please
read this court record I wrote about my ex husband, the Earl of Oxford as found on this page.
December 1580 Oxford informed on three of his former dining
companions, who in turn accused Oxford of murder, pederasty,
necromancy, athiesm, lying, drunkenness, and sedition. On 21
March 1581 Anne Vavasor, one of the queen's maids of honor, gave
birth to an illegitimate son and was thrown into the Tower. Oxford, the
child's father, took French leave, but was captured
and placed under arrest before 29 April. Here
The three former dinner companions were 'me', 'myself' and 'I'. Since
it was his fault that I had to fake my death and change my identity as
Oxford's wife Anne
Cecil (you can read about that on the 'sideshow' page by going here.) so he was guilty of murder
and while I was at it I lowered my official age and that
meant when we first got married I was only 12 years old so he was guilty of pederasty. Since I was officially dead when we made love he was guilty of necromancy.
was when he was a young child, the lying
was when he was 'lying' down to sleep after he got so drunk
he was impotent.
Now what is this about women being too emotional to write accurate court records?
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