George Fredrick Hudson’s humorous take on a future with long-distance telephones.

The Telephone. Central Africa – London.


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Cartographer(s): George Fredrick Hudson
Date: ca. 1910
Place: Not listed
Dimensions: 20 x 14 cm (8 x 5.5 in)
Condition Rating: VG


This charming caricature by the famous British humorist George Fredrick Hudson (1875-1966) probably dates to the first decade of the 20th century. It was created using pen, black ink, and watercolor, measures 13.7 x 20 cm, and features the artist’s monogram in the lower right corner. 

The artwork is executed in caricature form and envisions a futuristic concept of long-distance telephone communication between the United Kingdom and Africa.

In the cartoon, a humorous double scene unfolds. On the left, an indigenous African servant is holding a telephone for his master, lying in a hammock between two palm trees. Mosquitoes surround the colonial master, and a second servant tries to wave them away. On the other side, an Englishman asleep next to his wife in London is seemingly awakened by the long-distance call, which spans the image of a globe in the middle.

The conversation between the two results in an amusing exchange of complaints. On the African side, the colonial master complains about an inability to sleep due to the loud snoring of the Englishman’s wife, while the Englishman expresses frustration at the noise created by the mosquitoes, making it difficult for him to “get a wink of sleep.”

This delightful artwork captures the imagination of its viewers by visualizing the potential for long-distance communication in an entertaining and light-hearted manner.


George Fredrick Hudson

George Fredrick Hudson (1875-1966) was a British cartoonist and humorist. He showed artistic talent from a young age, excelling in subjects like poetry, grammar, arithmetic, and geography. After various jobs, Hudson joined the Telegraph Department of the Midland Railway Company and pursued his passion for commercial art by painting wooden buckets. He married Emily Eccles in 1899 and settled in Derby, where he joined art school and began publishing drawings and cartoons in publications like the Railway Telegraphist and the London Journal.

Hudson gained recognition as a cartoonist for the Derby Football Express and the Derby Daily Telegraph, creating cartoons of local figures. He also engaged with musicians, producing drawings of prominent musicians and participating in exhibitions and artistic societies. During World War I, he created his own booklets and illustrated a book on Tom Moore and Kegworth. He was also known for his illustrated posters.

Condition Description

Good. Some wear along fold lines. Crease in the bottom-right quadrant.