Working with cartoons

There are certain things you need to watch out for when using cartoons as sources. Just like written documents, treat them with caution.

Use the resources here to help develop your skills when using cartoons as sources.

Key Stages

This resource is suitable for students in Key Stages 3-5.

Connections to curriculum

Working with historical primary sources

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The cartoon shows a large pot and large kettle being heated in a fire in a grate. Queen Caroline is drawn in the shape of the pot on the left, King George IV in the shape of a large black kettle is seen on the right. The king’s crown is floating in the smoky air between them. Amongst the flames of the burning fire are pieces of wood which say ‘Broomstick’ and a ‘A bit of wood, Bergami’s pear tree.’ Several green bags are also included as fuel for the fire.

To use cartoons are sources we need to learn how to read them and figure out their historical context.

The history of cartoons in Britain from the eighteenth century.

A cartoon by George Cruikshank featuring Caroline of Brunswick and George IV.

How does a caption impact a cartoon?

In this video activity, we’ll guide you through the kinds of questions you could ask to explore a cartoon in depth.

Test your knowledge!