Medieval Artoons

I apologise for the silence from this blog in past months: it has been a tough year. I know it has its fans (thanks for all those who get in contact with me to say you enjoy it) and I’m working hard to relaunch with some exciting (no, really) new (well….) content (yes!) about English medieval churches. Watch this space for a preview very soon (like, in a month).

It won’t just be text. It will move!

Anyway, here’s a collection of my old cartoons regarding medieval art, some drawn as birthday cards and never seen in public, newly inked, scanned, recaptioned and archived for your viewing pleasure. Some have aged better than others. Some of them might not have been that good in the first place.


The joke here (besides haha the Office Assistant was annoying remember him) is that the “Beatus” page is the most iconic first page in any type of medieval manuscript, and psalters are instantly recognisible because of a great big “B” initial on the first page, without having to be able to read any of the script.


Franciscan friars would just tell the Pope that laypeople bought it for their church, and technically it’s his.

Edward II This one hasn’t aged well. The joke (such as it is) is that David Cameron was accused in September 2015 of performing a lewd act with a pig’s head as an initiation ceremony for the “Piers Gaveston Society” in his student days. Thing is that he disgraced himself so much the year afterwards Edward II isn’t even in the same league anymore as incompetent statesmen go.


EffigiesSomething about patrons’ agency, I guess. Medieval tombs weren’t always full of humility and bold invention. In fact a lot of the time they look the same, and probably nothing like the people they represent.

RiemenschneiderTwitterI haven’t inked this one essentially because I couldn’t face doing all those intersecting ogees on the retable that Stan and Ollie are about to ruin. It’s also supposed to make a point about how different guilds worked together on art objects and the painters were always paid the most. Sculptors like Riemenschneider must’ve just hated the smug gits.


Bluetooth  wireless technology is actually named after King Harald Bluetooth of Norway, father of Sven Forkbeard, who was briefly king of England, and Sven’s son became Cnut the Great. This is all funny enough as it is without this.

Isn’t it funny how many of these have thrones in them? Old habits die hard, I guess.

See you soon!


2 thoughts on “Medieval Artoons

  1. Heide

    I’m sorry it’s been a tough year, James — and I’ve certainly missed your presence here — but it’s good to hear that you’ll be back soon. And in the meantime, hats off on your wonderful and imaginative cartoons. You are hilarious!


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