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


  • Place of origin:

    Hanley (made)

  • Date:

    March 1906 (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 George Robey when he was performing at the Grand Theatre of Varieties, Hanley, during the week of 26 March 1906. He was billed as ‘The Prime Minister of Mirth, England’s Inimitable Comedian’, and performed four songs. 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.

George Robey (1869–1954) was one of Britain’s most successful music hall comedians, a master of comic songs, caricatures and sketches. He made his first appearance on the London stage at the Aquarium in 1891. After appearing at the Oxford Music Hall in London the same year, he was engaged for most of the leading halls in London. His ‘trademark’ stage appearance consisted of enormous black eyebrows and a bowler hat. He had a special talent for making audiences cry with laughter just by coming on stage and looking at them quizzically. When he appeared at Hanley the previous year he was paid the enormous sum of £150 for the week.

Physical description

Pen, ink and wash caricature on pink paper of George Robey, a head and shoulders portrait showing him wearing a top hat and a brown coat with a black collar; his face is framed with ginger whiskers; his trademark crescent-shaped eyebrows are raised quizzically, and he wears a pair of steel-rimmed spectacles.

Place of Origin

Hanley (made)


March 1906 (drawn)


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

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink and wash on paper

Marks and inscriptions

OH! DESIST. Yours truly Geo. Robey
Signature; Hand written; Pen and ink


Height: 24.7 cm, Width: 16.8 cm

Object history note

This caricature is of George Robey (1869-1954), one of the most successful and popular comedians of the British music hall who became known as 'The Prime Minister of Mirth'. He made his first appearance on the stage at the Aquarium in 1891 and after appearing at the Oxford in the same year, was on the bill at all the leading music halls in London. He specialised in comic songs, sung in character, and elaborate character studies including 'The Chinese Laundry Man', 1900, and 'A Prehistoric Man', 1902. He was knighted in 1954, only the second music hall performer after Harry Lauder to receive such an honour. This 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 singer and comedian George Robey (1869-1954), from an album of caricatures drawn by George Cooke. March 1906.

Production Note

Attribution note: This page is loose within the album, but numbered sequentially in this position.


Pen and ink; Watercolour


Drawn; Painted


Drawings; Caricatures & Cartoons; Entertainment & Leisure


Theatre and Performance Collection

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