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

Tom Hearn

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Hanley (made)

  • Date:

    May 1905 (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 Tom Hearn (1879-1954) when he was topping the bill at the Grand Theatre of Varieties, Hanley, during the week of 15 May 1905. 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.

Juggling was a popular music hall item. Many jugglers gave their acts a twist by creating characters for themselves, such as Eddie Le Roy, ‘The Juggling Humorist’, Roy Dove, ‘The Garrulous Juggledian’, and Boy Foy, ‘England’s Youngest Juggler’. Hearn was ‘The Sleepy Juggler’ or ‘The Laziest Juggler on Earth’. When London’s grandest variety theatre, the Coliseum, opened in 1904, Tom Hearn was on the bill, along with Malcolm Scott, another performer who was drawn by Cooke. Hearn also appeared as Snale in the pantomime The White Cat at London’s Drury Lane Theatre in 1904-05, when he also performed his lazy juggling act. This caricature shows Hearn in pyjamas, in the moment from his act when he has finally got out of bed to start his morning exercises and is looking wistfully at a poster of the contemporary strongman, Eugene Sandow. In March 1910 Hearn gave up his act, which was carried on by his brother under the same name.

Physical description

Pen, ink and wash caricature on pink paper of Tom Hearn, full-length, dressed as a failed body-builder, wearing a white T-shirt and red striped pyjama bottoms. He is flexing non-existent muscles and looking longingly at a poster showing the fitness expert Eugene Sandow.

Place of Origin

Hanley (made)


May 1905 (drawn)


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

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink and wash on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Tom Hearn
Signature; Hand written; Pen and ink


Height: 24.3 cm, Width: 16.8 cm

Object history note

This caricature is of the juggler Tom Hearn (1879-1954), billed in the halls as 'The Sleepy Juggler', or 'The Laziest Juggler on Earth'. Juggling was a popular item in the halls, and one that was included on the bill at one of London's grandest variety theatre, the Coliseum, which opened in 1904 giving four performances a day, later reduced to three - at 3pm, 6pm and 9pm. Oswald Stoll, the managing director of the company that owned the Coliseum, prided himself on all the acts being suitable for all the family, although Tom Hearn was on the bill there with Malcolm Scott, who unlike Hearn, was not exactly a children's entertainer.

Hearn topped the bill at the Grand Theatre of Varieties during the week commencing 15 May 1905 when he was drawn by Cooke. This caricature comes from the first of several albums compiled by the graphic artist George Cooke, featuring performers working in music hall in the early 20th century. The album is dated 1903-4-5.

Descriptive line

Caricature of Tom Hearn (1879-1954), billed in the music hall as 'The Laziest Juggler on Earth', or 'The Sleepy Juggler', from an album of caricatures drawn by George Cooke. May 1905.

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

'The Performer' 24 March 1910, p.7


Pen and ink; Watercolour


Drawn; Painted


Caricatures & Cartoons; Entertainment & Leisure; Drawings


Theatre and Performance Collection

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