‘His target is rarely the ideology of one politician or another. It is the vanity, inanity and mediocrity of the whole damn lot.’ (Matthew Parris, The Times, 13 October 2009) Peter Brookes maintains the most consistently high standard of any editorial cartoonist working in Britain today. His daily political cartoons and regular ‘Nature Notes’, produced for The Times, are always inventive, incisive and confidently drawn. They are the fruit of wide experience as a cartoonist and illustrator, and of complete independence from editorial intrusion.
Peter Brookes was born in Liverpool on 28 September 1943, the son of an RAF officer. After failing to finish a three-year pilot’s course for the Royal Air Force (1962-65) he took an extra mural degree at London University (1964).
He then attended Manchester College of Art (1965-66) and the Central School of Art, London (1966-69), later lecturing at the Central School (1976-78) and Royal College of Art (1979-90). His work has appeared in a number of exhibitions, including a solo show held at the Mel Calman Gallery in 1978.
Peter Brookes succeeded Ranan Lurie as political illustrator and cartoonist for The Times in 1982, and became its full-time political cartoonist a decade later. Since 1986, he has also shared the job of cover artist for The Spectator, with Nicholas Garland. In addition, he has contributed to many other magazines, including Radio Times, The Times Literary Supplement, New Society, New Statesman and The Listener. He has also produced illustrations for The Folio Society and Glyndebourne Opera, and has designed covers for Penguin Books and others. He was elected to the membership of the Alliance Graphique Internationale in 1988.
Peter Brookes has been represented by the Chris Beetles Gallery since 1997, when it held an exhibition drawn from the first volume of his fine and funny ‘Nature Notes’, which originally appeared in the Saturday edition of The Times. Subsequent solo shows took place at the gallery in 1999, 2001 and 2004, and his work has been a regular feature of its annual exhibition, ‘The Illustrators’.
In recent years, the following collections of Peter Brookes's cartoons have been launched at Chris Beetles Gallery with great success: The Best of Times ... (2009), Hard Times (2011), Sign of the Times (2013), Testing Times (2015), Interesting Times (2017) and Critical Times (2019).
Peter Brookes is a frequent winner of awards, including the British Press Awards Cartoonist of the Year, the Political Society Cartoonist of the Year, and the Cartoon Art Trust's Caricaturist of the Year. He received a CBE in the New Year's Honours List for 2017.
His work is represented in the collections of the British Cartoon Archive (University of Kent).