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David Low (1891-1963)



Pen and ink

14 x 21 inches

Manchester Guardian, 15 November 1955

The Illustrators. The British Art of Illustration 1900-2018', November 2018-January 2019, No 107

On 14 August 1955, President Dwight D Eisenhower flew to Denver for what he called a ‘work and play’ vacation, which he intended to be on until October. Eisenhower, who had been Supreme Allied Commander Europe during the Second World War, had won the Presidential Election in 1952 in a huge landslide and, as he was still hugely popular, was expected to win re-election comfortably in 1956 (which he went on to do). He spent much of his holiday playing golf. Eisenhower was a passionate golfer, playing as many as 800 rounds during his Presidency. Even at the White House, he installed a net in the basement that he could hit balls into, he used the South Lawn as a practice range and in 1954 even had a 3,000-square-foot putting green constructed just outside the Oval Office.

His holiday was cut short on 24 September 1955, when Eisenhower suffered a serious heart attack while on the golf course. He spent six weeks in hospital and was discharged on 11 November, a few days before the publication of this cartoon. That Sir David Low draws Eisenhower in a robe and pyjamas is probably a recreation of the President’s first public appearance after his heart attack, on 25 October, when he appeared wearing a set of maroon pyjamas with ‘Much Better Thanks’ embroidered on the pocket, a gift from the White House Press Corps on his birthday 11 days earlier.

Low’s cartoon suggests that while Eisenhower was golfing and recuperating, there was much manoeuvring occurring amongst other leading political figures. Featured on the signs in this cartoon are Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic Presidential Candidate in the 1952 and 1956 elections; Richard Nixon, the Vice-President; W. Averell Harriman, the Governor of New York and a candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination in both 1952 and 1956; William Knowland, Senator for California and Senate Minority Leader; Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the United States and in 1952 an popular early choice for the Presidential candidacy, and Estes Kefauver, Senator for Tennessee and Adlai Stevenson’s running mate for the 1956 election.

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