His cartoons mordantly illustrate WH Auden’s epitaph for the 1930s. “The clever hopes expire, of a low dishonest decade.” His subjects ranged from the Hunger Marchers, the debilitating unemployment and the meagre dole, the state of race relations, the thuggery of the British Union of Fascists to the increasing threat to peace from the Fascists abroad.
Gabriel was particularly witty at using British national symbols to deride the systematic news management of the Government. On the threat of war from the Japanese and the Fascists, he was strikingly prescient. His depictions of Franco, Mussolini and Hitler are only exceeded in their bite by his series of attacks on the tragically misguided Neville Chamberlain. Perhaps his most memorable symbol was the Axis horse (or mule?) – a centaur with Hitler’s head, and Mussolini as its hind end. In November 1956, he became disillusioned with the Party and walked out over the stance the newspaper took over the Soviet intervention in Hungary. Sadly for Gabriel, although he did work for other newspapers such as the Evening Standard, his departure from the Daily Worker marked the end of his heyday as a political cartoonist.Jimmy Friell remained a convinced socialist until his death on 4th February 1997.
Fallen Angel! The political cartoons of the Daily Worker cartoonist “Gabriel” is at the Political Cartoon Gallery, 32 Store Street, London WC1. The exhibition runs until 28 April.