North Devon in 100 Objects: 77. Francis Carruthers Gould’s Sketchbook

An open sketchbook, showing two pages of drawings of 1800s gentlemen, including the Barnstaple beadle and the Mayor, Mr Guppy.

These sketches are the work of a young Francis Carruthers Gould, born in Barnstaple, who became the first regular political cartoonist on a daily paper.  They show some of his favourite early targets, the Barnstaple beadle and the Mayor, Mr Guppy.

Francis Carruthers Gould was the son of Richard Davie Gould, the Barnstaple Borough Surveyor who designed many of our Victorian buildings.  Although in early youth he showed great love of drawing, he began his working life in the Barnstaple Bank, where he frequently got into trouble for wasting his time drawing caricatures of the great and the good of the town.

Frank then joined the London Stock Exchange, where he constantly sketched the members and illustrated important events in the financial world; many of these drawings were reproduced by lithography and published for private circulation. In 1879 he began the regular illustration of the Christmas numbers of Truth magazine, and in 1887 he became a contributor to the Pall Mall Gazette.  He moved to the Westminster Gazette on its foundation and later became assistant editor. He was knighted in 1906.

Gould wrote a number of illustrated books, usually combining political comment with images drawn from well-known characters taken from classic works like Froissart’s Chronicles, Uncle Remus, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and the works of Dickens and Shakespeare.  He also created designs for ceramics based on his cartoons; these include green glazed Boer War figurines made by Brannams pottery.  His multi-coloured First World War toby jugs, made by Wilkinsons of Staffordshire are particularly attractive.

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