Collection of 180 cartoons drawn by First World War army officer

The art of war: Remarkable collection of 180 cartoons drawn by hero First World War army officer are uncovered a century after he retired

  • Astonishing artwork by John Jackson Cameron was recently uncovered in estate of a late English collector
  • Cartoons, including scenes of characters playing golf and holidaying, expected to fetch up to £500 at sale 
  • Cameron is understood to have studied in Paris and worked as an illustrator before joining the Army in 1900s

A remarkable collection of 180 cartoons drawn by a First World War army officer have been uncovered around a century after he fought for Britain.

The satirical artwork, attributed to John Jackson Cameron, includes scenes of characters playing golf, holidaying and taking part in various outdoor pursuits.

The astonishing albums emerged from the estate of a late English collector who would trawl bookshops and junk shops for quirky items. 

It is understood this is how he came across Cameron’s work, and the cartoons have now been cosigned for sale by his family with auctioneers Dominic Winter – and are expected to fetch up to £500.

Chris Albury, specialist at Dominic Winter, has researched Cameron’s life and discovered he studied in Paris and worked as an illustrator before joining the Army at the start of the First World War.   

He distinguished himself as an officer in the South Staffordshire Regiment, earning the prestigious Distinguished Service Order for gallantry in 1918, and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1920.  

The satirical artwork, attributed to John Jackson Cameron, includes scenes of characters playing golf, holidaying and taking part in various outdoor pursuits. This cartoon had the caption: ‘With John’s love and best wishes that Bertie will hit ’em high-wide and handsome’

The astonishing albums emerged from the estate of a late English collector who would trawl bookshops and junk shops for quirky items

It is understood this is how he came across Cameron’s work, and the cartoons have now been cosigned for sale by his family with auctioneers Dominic Winter – and are expected to fetch up to £500

His DSO citation reads: ‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. 

‘He made a thorough reconnaissance of the ground on which his battalion were to assemble and advance in support of an attack.

‘He guided his battalion to the position, which he found was being heavily shelled, and he assembled them successfully in another position. 

‘He showed the greatest ability and skill throughout.’ 

It is understood Cameron was born in Wayne County, Ohio in February 1872, according to a man who claims to be his great-great-grandson. 

His father, Thomas, was a contractor from Rutherglen, Lanarkshire and he he had two younger brothers: William and Thomas. The family returned to Cathcart, Glasgow between 1873 and 1875. 

Tragically, Cameron lost both brothers and his parents by 1894 – and by the time he enlisted in the Army, his closest living relative was his cousin, Donald Fletcher. 

Chris Albury, specialist at Dominic Winter, has researched Cameron’s life and discovered he studied in Paris and worked as an illustrator before joining the Army at the start of the First World War

He distinguished himself as an officer in the South Staffordshire Regiment, earning the prestigious Distinguished Service Order for gallantry in 1918, and retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1920

It is understood Cameron was born in Wayne County, Ohio in February 1872, according to a man who claims to be his great-great-grandson. Pictured: A cartoon titled ‘A game of Rummy at Pinehurst’

His father, Thomas, was a contractor from Rutherglen, Lanarkshire and he he had two younger brothers: William and Thomas. The family returned to Cathcart, Glasgow between 1873 and 1875. Pictured, a cartoon with the caption: ‘Donald and I agree that there is nothing more enjoyable than a quiet evening with a good book’

This cartoon had the caption: ‘The New Silica fertiliser for Nora’s herbaceous border is a howling success, but it does interfere with the view’

Pictured: A satirical cartoon drawn by John Jackson Cameron with the caption ‘Honk, Honk, Toot, Toot’

Tragically, Cameron lost both brothers and his parents by 1894 – and by the time he enlisted in the Army, his closest living relative was his cousin, Donald Fletcher. Pictured: Muddled memories of the Scottish exhibition at the RA 1939

Cameron lived in Chelsea until the Second World War broke out in September 1939. He died on April 4, 1951 at the Portsonachan Hotel in Argyllshire and was buried at Kilchrenan Church in Taynuilt. Pictured: ‘Ghosts of 1897’

Cameron lived in Chelsea until the Second World War broke out in September 1939. He died on April 4, 1951 at the Portsonachan Hotel in Argyllshire and was buried at Kilchrenan Church in Taynuilt.  

His cartoon collection contains letters between himself and close friends Lucy Openheimer and Nora Robbins, who he has drawn with their families.

After Ms Openheimer died in 1935, Cameron lived with her husband until his death in 1951. 

Mr Albury hopes that someone might be able to shed more light on Cameron’s life and work following the discovery of his astonishing work.

He said: ‘Virtually nothing seems to be known about this artist. He was clearly accomplished but doesn’t seem to have published.

His cartoon collection contains letters between himself and close friends Lucy Openheimer and Nora Robbins, who he has drawn with their families. Pictured, a cartoon with the caption: ‘A warm welcome will be extended to Nora on her return to golf’

Mr Albury hopes that someone might be able to shed more light on Cameron’s life and work following the discovery of his astonishing work. Pictured: Pessimists and Optimists at St Andrews

Pictured: A cartoon by John Jackson Cameron with the caption ‘students at the interrogation course of the intelligence training centre Cambridge find that frivolity must be left behind when TR is their Beak’

Another of his drawings read: L’augh and the world laughs with you – weep and you weep alone’

Others, such as ‘The Book Drunkard’, depicted more sombre scenes of an old man reading in front of his fireplace

This cartoon, titled ‘Pessimist and Optimist, shows two men preparing to take to a golf course in the sun

Another had the caption: ‘Brighter Football The New Recruits to Middlesex make History’

‘The albums were discovered in the books of a deceased private collector whose estate we are selling for the family. There is no connection between the owner and Cameron.

‘He, like us, was clearly stumped by the dearth of information about Cameron but he clearly loved them and kept them and we love them too!

‘The drawings are so colourful and fresh that the albums are real page-turners and a great slice of visual social history.’ 

The sale takes place tomorrow.  

John Jackson Cameron: A US-born illustrator educated in Paris who rose through the ranks to earn the  Distinguished Service Order for gallantry in 1918

Pictured: Artist John Jackson Cameron

Though little is known about his life, it is understood John Jackson Cameron was born in Wayne County, Ohio in February 1872, according to a man who claims to be his great-great-grandson. 

His father, Thomas, was a contractor from Rutherglen, Lanarkshire and he he had two younger brothers: William and Thomas. The family returned to Cathcart, Glasgow between 1873 and 1875. 

Tragically, Cameron lost both brothers and his parents by 1894 – and by the time he enlisted in the British Army, his closest living relative was his cousin, Donald Fletcher. 

Cameron studied in Paris and worked as an illustrator before joining the Army at the start of the First World War.   

He distinguished himself as an officer in the South Staffordshire Regiment, earning the prestigious Distinguished Service Order for gallantry in 1918, and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1920.     

Cameron lived in Chelsea, London until the Second World War broke out in September 1939. He died on April 4, 1951 at the Portsonachan Hotel in Argyllshire and was buried at Kilchrenan Church in Taynuilt.  

His cartoon collection contains letters between himself and close friends Lucy Openheimer and Nora Robbins, who he has drawn with their families.

After Ms Openheimer died in 1935, Cameron lived with her husband until his death. 

 

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