Punch and its cartoons of the Crimean War (1854-1856)

About this talk

How can we use cartoons to learn about the history of the Crimean War and people’s attitudes towards war? Are they valuable and reliable resources for understanding history? In this talk, Petros Spanou discusses the cartoons made by the periodical Punch during the Crimean War and how its portrayal of Russia, soldiers, and the UK could have impacted attitudes towards the war and the key actors involved in it. This talk also considers the value placed on Punch at this time. This talk will be best for those interested in History, English Literature and Language, History of Art and Politics.

You can find the talk by Petros Spanou below. Try out the activities set by Petros Spanou whilst going through the talk, and then have a look at the further resources below!

Further Resources

If you want to learn more about Punch specifically, then have a look at The Victorian Web’s page on Punch. Click here for their introductory page, but they have far more detailed articles if you want to continue researching this topic. For a look at the different Punch cartoons produced in response to the Crimean War and an explanation of what they are depicting, have a look through the different links here.

If you want to look at more cartoons and challenge yourself and interpret what each cartoon might be implying about that time period, the key attitudes and events, check out the British Cartoon Archives on Punch. This includes cartoons throughout the Cold War too if you prefer more political and modern history. You can access the archive by clicking here.

For a look into how technology is shaping the future of political cartoons, as well as the role of religion, watch this TedTalk by Patrick Chappatte which you can access here.

Petros Spanou

Petros Spanou is a DPhil student in History at Balliol College, Oxford who specialises in The Crimean War and the concept of just wars and principles of peace during the Victorian era. Prior to this, Petros Spanou completed a BA in Modern History at the University of St. Andrews, and an MSt in British and European History at New College, Oxford where he also focused on the Crimean War.
You can learn more about Petros Spanou’s research by clicking here.