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  • Caricature
    Cooke, George Harold, born 1881 - died 1950
  • Enlarge image


  • Place of origin:

    Hanley (made)

  • Date:

    August 1907 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cooke, George Harold, born 1881 - died 1950 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink and wash on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This caricature is of Whit Cunliffe when he was starring at the Grand Theatre of Varieties, Hanley, during the week of 19 August 1907. He was billed as ‘The original singer of Hello! Hello!’. It is one of the many superb caricatures of Edwardian music hall performers that were drawn by the artist George Cooke when he was based at the Grand Theatre. He compiled them in a series of albums.

Born near Manchester in 1876, Cunliffe was a singer and dandy in the Victorian music hall tradition of immaculately dressed stars who sang slightly risqué songs about love and courtship. Cunliffe’s favourite songs included ‘I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside’, its companion-piece ‘There’s Something in the Seaside Air’, and ‘Who Were You With Last Night?’. His songs often contained questions such as ‘Now, Are We All Here?’, to which the audience shouted ‘Yes!’ and joined in the choruses. He was well known for strutting around the stage in a brown suit and straw boater, or in dandified outfits such as a mauve frock-coat. At Hanley he sang three songs, finishing with ‘Hello! Hello! Hello!’. He was praised for his lack of ‘meretricious make-up’, and being ‘a walking advertisement for the tailor who cut his dapper frock-coat, and the hatter who irons his immaculate “topper”’ He died in 1966.

Physical description

Pen, ink and wash caricature on pink paper of Whit Cunliffe, full-length, with an oversized head on a small body, wearing evening dress with a white waistocoat and white bow tie.

Place of Origin

Hanley (made)


August 1907 (drawn)


Cooke, George Harold, born 1881 - died 1950 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink and wash on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Hand written; Pen and ink

Yours faithfully Whit Cunliffe
Signature; Hand written; Pen and ink


Height: 25 cm, Width: 16.8 cm

Object history note

This caricature is of Whit Cunliffe, a music hall performer in the 'Lion Comique' tradition, performing at The Grand Theatre of Varieties, Hanley, during the week of 19 August 1907. He dressed impeccably, often in his trademark brown suit and silk hat, and was one of the leading music hall performers, or 'top-liners' until 1914. The caricature comes from the second album of caricatures in a collection of albums owned by the Theatre Museum compiled by the graphic artist George Cooke. It is labelled by the artist 'Geo Cooke HYS BOOKE' and features music hall performers working in the early 20th century.

Descriptive line

Caricature of the music hall performer and singer Whit Cunliffe (1876-1966), from an album of caricatures drawn by George Cooke. August 1907.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

'The Melodies Linger On' by W Macqueen-Pope
'Stars Who Made the Halls' by S. Theodore Felstead
The Performer, 21 June 1906, advertisement of engagement.


Pen and ink; Watercolour


Drawn; Painted


Drawings; Caricatures & Cartoons; Entertainment & Leisure


Theatre and Performance Collection

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