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The Billy Book
, 1918

by David Low


Sir David Low, caricaturist, began cartooning in his native New Zealand. While working for the Canterbury Times, he began sending examples of his work to a score of Australian editors each week - a strategy which eventually landed him a job with the Melbourne office of the Bulletin. In Australia from 1911, he drew many caricatures, mainly of political figures, for The Bulletin and also contributed to the Lone Hand. The Billy Book (1918), his second published anthology of caricatures, made his name, selling 60 000 units. Its subject, Prime Minister Billy Hughes, is said to have torn the book up when given a copy by one of his ministers. The Billy Book won Low a contract with the London Star; he left Australia in 1919 and remained in England until he died, having been knighted in 1962. Upon his death he was described as the ‘dominant cartoonist of the Western world’.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Suzie Campbell 2001
Accession number: SC17.2003