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Drawing - "I'm your secretary, sir. I'd tell you my name, but then I'd have to kill you."
  • "I'm your secretary, sir. I'd tell you my name, but then I'd have to kill you."
    Richler, Martha Marf
  • Enlarge image

"I'm your secretary, sir. I'd tell you my name, but then I'd have to kill you."

  • Object:

    Drawing

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    2004 (made)
    07/05/2004 (printed and published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Richler, Martha Marf (artist)
    The Evening Standard (commissioned and published)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the artist

  • Museum number:

    E.372-2007

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case I, shelf 139, box II

This cartoon appeared in the Evening Standard on 7 May 2004, and is artist Marf's take on the current news story. As she describes it: 'A web of spin develops to protect Tony Blair and his labour government from being blamed for the mistaken claim that Iraq had WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) – which justified attacking Iraq without UN support. Blair blames MI5 for the lack of intelligence – passing the buck to one of the most secretive branches of the state, thus adding to the confusion. A new director, John Scarlett, is appointed to MI5, promising a new “transparency”, but he is known to be a Blair cronie and hardly one to challenge Blair’s actions in Iraq.'

'Marf' drew daily topical cartoons for the Evening Standard between March 2002 and August 2005, moving to the Londoner's Diary page in August 2003. The drawings cover key political and social issues of the period, providing a vivid and often hilarious response to the main news of the day. The Evening Standard is London's only evening newspaper, publishing up to five editions a day. In Marf's own words: 'The cartoonist needs to keep up with the rapid pace of event.'

Physical description

Black and white line drawn cartoon showing the interior of an office at MI6. Newly appointed chief John Scarlett sits at his desk with an open briefcase. His secretary, blond and wearing a black skirt suit with pleated skirt and black and white buckled stilettos, stands next to him with arms folded and holding an newspaper. A workman in overalls and cap is drilling a new nameplate to the office door. Next to Scarlett are a computer screen, on which is blanced a wide-rimmed hat, a telephone and a polystyrene cup holding tea or coffee.

Some lines have been blocked out with liquid paper, and faint underdrawing can be seen.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

2004 (made)
07/05/2004 (printed and published)

Artist/maker

Richler, Martha Marf (artist)
The Evening Standard (commissioned and published)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink on paper

Marks and inscriptions

FRIDAY 7th of MAY
Written in pen top left

"I'm your secretary, sir. I'd tell you my name, but then I'd have to kill you."
Written in pen across bottom; title to piece

MARF
Artist signature bottom right of image

19 [in circle]
Written in black biro on transparent protective sheet, top right

Evening Standard / SCARLETT / NAMED / NEW / SPY CHIEF
Newspaper headline, part of image

'04
Written in pencil, bottom right

JOHN / SCARLETT
Sign on office door, part of image

MI6
Sign on wall, part of image

J.S.
Initials on briefcase, part of image

Dimensions

Height: 29.6 cm, Width: 42 cm

Object history note

Donated by the artist.

Descriptive line

Cartoon, "I'm your secretary, sir. I'd tell you my name, but then I'd have to kill you." by 'Marf' (Martha Richler), published in The Evening Standard, 7th May 2004; London.

Production Note

Attribution note: for publication in newspaper
Reason For Production: Commission

Materials

Pen and ink; Paper

Techniques

Drawn

Subjects depicted

Desk; Hat; Telephone; Men; Screw; Chair; Woman; Briefcase; Cap; Spectacles; Signs; Newspaper; Drill; Suit; Polystyrene cup; Shoes; Computer; Papers; Overalls

Categories

Drawings; Caricatures & Cartoons

Production Type

Unique

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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