Classic Cartoons: Martin Plimmer on David Ghilchik

A MOMENT that would pass unnoticed by most, certainly not be considered to merit immortalisation, is vividly worked into our emotions by painter and illustrator David Ghilchik in this 1923 Punch cartoon. Here on the balmiest of afternoons is the sweetest of little boys, his supplicant's hands placed just-so on the knee of the coolest of mothers. (We note, with a sigh, that she is wearing unsuitable shoes.)

Here, too, is HIM, with a right leg that dares all, the neck of bull and also the swimming costume of a bull, striding off to invade France before tea. They just don't make characters like that any more. We have to admire him; so must the boy; so must the mother, whose desirable gaze, unheedingly, he also commands.